I have said it before, but I am again confused this morning after President Donald Trump launched into another self-defeating and unpresidential tirade on Twitter. The target of the tweets is the husband of Kellyanne Conway. (For the record, she is a former student of mine). George Conway has published the criteria used to diagnose Narcissistic Personality Disorder and has suggested that Trump is clearly mentally ill. By attacking Conway, Trump has only magnified the allegations and drawn attention to the NPD criteria. While various White House officials struggled for months to keep Trump from responding directly to George Conway, Trump finally had enough after daily attacks. However, the result is manifestly bad for Trump. As should have been obvious, Conway responded by highlighting his prior allegation of mental illness and tweeted “You. Are. Nuts.”
President Trump blasted called Conway a “stone cold loser” and the “husband from hell.” In truth, I have always been surprised by George Conway’s relentless attacks given his wife’s position. Conway is not in the media and it would not seem too unreasonable to expect him to respect the delicate position of his wife as a close adviser to Trump.
None of that however explains for excuses this attack from Trump: “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!”
Trump’s denial of knowing Conway is in conflict with known facts of a relationship going back many years as well as a reported offer for Conway to head one of the divisions at the Justice Department.
The continued name calling and personal attacks not only diminishes the office of the President but only works to reinforce the criticism. Indeed, George Conway responded in his own tweet, saying that Trump seems “determined” to prove his arguments, adding the hashtag “#NarcissisticPersonalityDisorder.”
This follows widespread criticism of Trump for his attacks on the late John McCain including core conservative senators who were shocked by the attack on McCain.
Polls show that Trump is still popular with Republicans but he is adding to the number of voters who committed to voting against him, including in key states like Florida. Even if Trump is unconcerned about how these tweets impact his office, they are clearly not working politically.