WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump escalated his feud Wednesday with the spouse of one of his top aides, Kellyanne Conway, calling George Conway "a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!"
Trump later described Conway as a "whack job."
Trump attacked George Conway for the second day in a row after the conservative Republican lawyer and critic of the president suggested that Trump is increasingly mentally impaired.
"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," as a top-level Justice Department official, Trump claimed on Twitter.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2019
Within 20 minutes, Conway responded with an acerbic tweet of his own, telling Trump, "You seem determined to prove my point. Good for you!," adding, "#NarcissisticPersonalityDisorder."
In a followup tweet, Conway told Trump: "You. Are. Nuts."
Questioned about Conway as he left for the midwestern state of Ohio to visit a manufacturing plant, Trump told reporters, "He's a whack job. I think he's doing a tremendous disservice to his wife. She's a wonderful woman."
Kellyanne Conway, in an interview with the political news site Politico, defended Trump's attacks on her husband.
"You think he shouldn’t respond when somebody, a non-medical professional accuses him of having a mental disorder?" the presidential adviser said. "You think he should just take that sitting down?”
“Don't play psychiatrist any more than George should be,” she added. “You're not a psychiatrist and he's not, respectfully.”
Conway, who on occasion has represented Trump in legal transactions, said Tuesday he decided not to take the position Trump offered him, as head of the civil division in the Justice Department, after Trump attacked top officials at the agency and fired James Comey, then director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Conway has been a frequent critic of the president, co-founding Checks and Balances, a group of conservative and libertarian lawyers who have attacked Trump for the way he has handled legal and political situations during his 26-month presidency.
Conway is without qualifications in psychology.
But on Sunday, as Trump vented his wrath at a variety of targets in a hail of Twitter comments, Conway cited the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to claim that the president embodies “a grandiose sense of self-importance," is "pre-occupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance" and shows signs of "irritability and aggressiveness."
“His condition is getting worse,” Conway said.
His wife, a fixture on U.S. news shows defending Trump and by now accustomed to her husband's months of taunts against the president, dismissed his armchair assessment of Trump's mental stability.
"No, I don't share those concerns," she said Monday.
But the feud between George Conway and the president first ratcheted up Tuesday when Trump's 2020 re-election campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said on Twitter that Trump "turned down Mr. Kellyanne Conway for a job he desperately wanted. He barely worked @TheJusticeDept and was either fired/quit, didn’t want the scrutiny?"
He added, "Now he hurts his wife because he is jealous of her success," claiming that Trump "doesn't even know him!" The couple, however, has attended black tie events together with Trump.
We all know that @realDonaldTrump turned down Mr. Kellyanne Conway for a job he desperately wanted. He barely worked @TheJusticeDept and was either fired/quit, didn’t want the scrutiny? Now he hurts his wife because he is jealous of her success. POTUS doesn’t even know him!— Brad Parscale (@parscale) March 19, 2019
Trump retweeted Parscale's disparaging assessment of George Conway, saying, "A total loser!"
Within minutes of Trump's comment, George Conway replied, "Congratulations! You just guaranteed that millions of more people are going to learn about narcissistic personality disorder and malignant narcissism! Great job!”
The president's doctor, after examining Trump last month, said he is healthy although overweight.
“I am happy to announce the president of the United States is in very good health and I anticipate he will remain so for the duration of his presidency, and beyond,” White House doctor Sean Conley said.
Trump's assessment of his key aide's spouse was once decidedly more favorable.
The Washington Post published a 2006 letter, a decade before Trump ran for the presidency, in which Trump, then a real estate mogul, praised George Conway for his work representing him in a dispute with tenants at his Trump World Tower condominium in New York.
"I want to thank you for your wonderful assistance in ridding Trump World Tower of some very bad people," Trump wrote Conway. "What I was most impressed with was how quickly you were able to comprehend a very bad situation."
Conway, 55, and Kellyanne Conway, 52, married in 2001 and have four children together.
Conway told one interviewer last year that he knows his wife does not appreciate his barbed comments about her boss, the president.
"But I've told her, I don't like the administration, so it's even," he said.