In the first few months or even weeks of the Trump administration there was a slight scandal about somebody’s comments regarding Kellyanne Conway and the article’s accompanying photograph showed Conway splendidly texting on her iPhone with a wry grin on her face while seated on a sofa of some sort in the White House. I remember looking at the photo and thinking:

Who’s she texting with?

Back in late January, Vanity Fair published a few choice excerpts from Team of Vipers by former aide Cliff Sims – a pollster like Conway and one who founded his own firm, just like Kellyanne as well – that laid into President Trump’s special counsellor and described how she was a double-faced survivor who trashed most of her colleagues to members of the press in private while professing loyalty to Trump in public. Here’s one of those excerpts:

Kellyanne was sitting at her desk texting away. Over the course of 20 minutes or so, she was having simultaneous conversations with no fewer than a half-dozen reporters, most of them from outlets the White House frequently trashed for publishing ‘fake news.’ Journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Politico, and Bloomberg were all popping up on the screen. And these weren’t policy conversations, or attempts to fend off attacks on the president. As I sat there trying to type, she bashed Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, and Sean Spicer, all by name.

Conway, who according to Sims, did and said things that seemed poll-tested by a focus group that existed inside her mind, responded in kind:

The real leakers, past and present, get much more positive press than I do. While it’s rare, I prefer to knife people from the front, so they see it coming.

Was that statement in response to the Vanity Fair excerpts poll-tested in Conway’s mind? Was Sims’ book poll-tested in his own mind? And is saying that merely stating a truism in today’s political world, driven in large part by social media? Or is Conway truly untrustworthy and in fact a dangerously disruptive force in Trump’s White House? And if so, isn’t that kind of the way President Trump likes things?

Which brings us to good old George Conway, Kellyanne’s husband, a lawyer with lots of beltway experience who has been attacking his wife’s boss with a crazed gusto that makes one wonder what the hell is going on. Conway’s Twitter rants against Trump essentially claim President Trump is mentally unstable and presumably deserves the 25th. Although George Conway hasn’t quite spelled that out in such an explicit way but merely left large gooey drops of crapola to be connected by a hopefully disgusted public, in his view.

President Trump has ignored Conway’s attacks for the last couple of years, but he swung back a few days ago with this Tweet:

George Conway, often referred to as Mr. Kellyanne Conway by those who know him, is VERY jealous of his wife’s success & angry that I, with her help, didn’t give him the job he so desperately wanted. I barely know him but just take a look, a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!

The speculation around George Conway’s motives centers on an appointment to run the DOJ’s Civil Division that never came to fruition. And ever since, so the theory goes, George has been on a vengeful tear because of what he supposedly feels was denied him.

In a town like Washington D.C. this sort of thing is assuredly trite, given the ambitions and ruthlessness of many who inhabit the marshy lowlands near the Potomac. It’s even fairly trite in that it involves a power couple, one of whom ended up far more powerful than who had been presumably the more powerful member of the team. Again, a rather common thing in the beltway.

What’s different about this spat, of course, is that it’s being played out on Twitter and it involves the husband of a close counsellor to the president. And it makes one wonder if Kellyanne Conway shares her husband’s ruthless ambition even as she sits in the White House and is gladly leaking left, right, and center in order to undermine other members of the executive. Again, this happens in D.C. but not at the scale seen, especially early on, in Trump’s administration.

But President Trump seems to view Kellyanne Conway as an essential part of his team, especially because she often is the one who hits the media circuit to defend Trump’s policies in front of a hostile crowd, or to rationalize some of his impulses. Is she therefore willing to trash even Ivanka and Jared if she feels it will provide Trump with some breathing room? Or is she just knifing competitors in the back, despite her insistence that she only does full-frontal knifings?

Because if Trump decides she’s the latter – only out for herself – then her husband’s Tweets may cause the President to view Kellyanne Conway as too much of a liability. If Trump, however, sticks with her despite husband George’s rants, then we can assume that she is indeed a key, and trusted, member of the West Wing.

Either way, look for her to sign a yuge publishing deal for a tell-all when she does eventually leave.

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