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Kellyanne Conway lashes out on CNN over question about her husband’s anti-Trump Twitter habit

Conway said Dana Bash’s question about her husband’s habit of subtweeting the president was meant to “harass and embarrass” her.

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, in Washington, DC in January.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, in Washington, DC, in January.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Emily Stewart covers business and economics for Vox and writes the newsletter The Big Squeeze, examining the ways ordinary people are being squeezed under capitalism. Before joining Vox, she worked for TheStreet.

Kellyanne Conway does not want to talk about her husband George Conway’s habit of subtweeting President Donald Trump. She accused CNN’s Dana Bash of a sexist line of questioning when the journalist asked about the matter on State of the Union on Sunday, saying it was meant to “harass and embarrass” her.

George Conway, a prominent conservative lawyer who was under consideration for two Trump administration posts last year, has raised eyebrows with his habit of tweeting and retweeting things that are critical of the president. For example, when Trump tweeted that “attorney-client privilege is dead” after the FBI raid of his personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s home and office, Conway tweeted a link to the Justice Department’s guidance on searches conducted on attorneys. The same day, he retweeted a 1973 news article about President Richard Nixon seeing a witch hunt, a common Trump refrain on the Russia investigation.

In March, Conway described a New York Times story that reported one of the president’s lawyers had discussed pardoning Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort as “flabbergasting.” He has, however, deleted some of his more critical tweets.

When Bash asked Conway about her husband’s Twitter habits on Sunday, she became combative and said the question was out of line. “This ought to be fun moving forward, Dana. We’re now going to talk about other people’s spouses and significant others just because they either work at the White House or CNN? Are we going to do that? You just went there,” Conway said. She said that spouses “by definition” have differences of opinion and that Bash’s question was a “fascinating, cross-the-Rubicon moment” and representative of the “double standard” she faces.

Conway seemed to suggest that Bash would not have asked her the question if she were a man, to which Bash replied, “A thousand percent I would.” Conway said she has been subjected to a “different standard” of treatment and that there are other family members of people who work at the White House who don’t support the president.

Conway also got in a dig at Hillary Clinton. “That woman who lost the election whose name I never say on TV anymore is wrong that women — I think she said white women have to listen to … the men in their life to form their own political opinions. Wrong again, lady,” she said.

Later on Sunday, Conway tweeted that she wasn’t trying to imply there was a double standard on gender in Bash’s question but instead that the inquiry was “cheap” and “irrelevant.”

George Conway appeared undeterred by the back-and-forth, retweeting a pair of tweets showing a photo of previous presidents and first ladies at Barbara Bush’s funeral and digging at Trump.

The White House complaining about bringing spouses into things is kind of the pot calling the kettle black

Conway’s complaint that spouses should be off limits in politics is a more than a little ironic. Bash pointed out that Trump repeatedly targeted former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, and in a call with McCabe told him to “ask his wife how it feels to be a loser.” (Jill McCabe lost her bid for the Virginia state Senate in 2015.)

“The president has excellent instincts,” Conway said of Trump’s targeting of Jill McCabe. During the 2016 campaign, Trump infamously attacked Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) wife, Heidi Cruz, threatening to “spill the beans” on her and retweeting an unflattering photo of her that he still has not taken down. He tweeted and deleted an item attacking Jeb Bush’s wife, Columba Bush, because she is Mexican, and, of course, he spent much of the 2016 presidential campaign criticizing Hillary Clinton for her husband’s misdeeds.

Conway herself has also invoked family members in her arguments and offensives. Just this month, she said former FBI Director James Comey might have been biased because his wife and daughters supported Clinton in 2016 and took part in the Women’s March.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on 20/20, Comey said he thought his family’s “passion” for Clinton “illustrates to people that I really wasn’t making decisions based on political fortunes.” Conway in an interview with Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America invoked it as evidence of potential bias from Comey. “His people in his household wanted the other person to win,” she said.