Eric Trump would like George Conway to back off.
The President's son tweeted in response to Conway's criticism of President Donald Trump and his administration, where, of course, Conway's wife Kellyanne is a high-level White House official. "Of all the ugliness in politics," he announced, "the utter disrespect George Conway shows toward his wife, her career, place of work, and everything she has fought SO hard to achieve, might top them all."
The family dynamics on display here are every bit as mind-boggling as we expected when Donald Trump ran for president with his children in key campaign roles and brought his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared into the administration. Trumps have always blended family and business in a way that creates cross-currents of loyalties and interest. Now, in Washington, others are being drawn into the family-style intrigue that creates chaos and pain for so many in the Trump orbit.
Superficially, it's easy to see Conway as a husband who is failing to support his wife as she undertakes an extremely difficult job. Kellyanne has reached the pinnacle of her profession. One might expect him to celebrate her success and support her in any way he can.
But step back and consider that Conway is one of the most respected lawyers in the nation. He is dedicated to the country's constitutional system and has spent his entire adult life working inside the system of laws and rights that preserves it. Donald Trump could not be more different from Conway.
When Conway himself considered an offer to work in the Trump administration, he pondered what he would call a "sh-- show in a dumpster fire" and decided against it. He subsequently watched his wife struggle to spin and explain the President's lies and distortions, all while she insisted, despite the red glow, that there was no dumpster fire.
No one can guess what goes on inside a family, but it's reasonable to assume that the Conways, who have four children, try to uphold certain basic moral values, if only for their children's sake. Those would undoubtedly include honesty, truthfulness, respect for others, and a basic code of right and wrong. With the President's false and misleading statements now exceeding 5,000, according to the Washington Post, and a number of his famous former aides and loyalists -- Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates -- in the throes of criminal prosecution, the idea that Donald Trump's White House is a worthy place of employment for any decent person is now suspect.
For all we know, George Conway asked his wife to turn down the White House post she accepted after the election and has been begging her to leave ever since Trump was sworn in. Maybe he sees that those who get close to Donald Trump are inevitably asked to do his dirty work and that saying "no" is almost impossible. Maybe he has witnessed the indictments arising out of Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 election, and ancillary issues, and fears the worst for the woman he loves, who also happens to be the mother of their children.
The most apt analogy for the conundrum faced by George Conway might be the trap that ensnares the wives of organized crime figures. The rewards that come from working for a powerful but corrupt organization can cloud one's moral vision. Add the element of fear -- who wouldn't fear the rage of Trump and his followers? -- and you can imagine the pressure George Conway may have felt during the months that he stayed silent.
In Conway's case, isn't it likely that over time he concluded that he could stay silent no more? What if his critiques, voiced in interviews, expressed on social media, and laid out in published work, reflect his concern for both his country and his family? What would you do if your wife or husband were caught in a situation like Kellyanne Conway's? Everyone knows that Trump demands loyalty but offers none. Witness his recent call for Michael Cohen, who is now helping Mueller, to serve a long prison term.
Kellyanne Conway, who almost certainly knows things that would interest Mueller and could harm Donald Trump, has made a deal with the devil. He husband sees this. If he has made private efforts to save her, they have obviously failed. Now he's trying public pressure.
Eric Trump doesn't like it because he, too, is a creature of Trump family values. All that he is, and possibly ever will be, is tied to his father, and with Mueller on the case, this connection might eventually pull him into a federal courthouse to bear witness.
George Conway is speaking up because he wants his wife to leave the "sh-- show" and escape the dumpster fire. He has her interest, and the country's stability, at heart and he's doing the right thing.