After President Trump tweeted about his controversial travel ban Monday morning, plenty of people quickly pointed out that he probably was hurting his case. Among them: George Conway, a prominent lawyer who is married to top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and nearly became a Trump appointee.
Quoting one of the president’s messages, George Conway wrote on his Twitter account that Trump’s tweets “may make some ppl feel better, but they certainly won’t help OSG get 5 votes in SCOTUS, which is what actually matters. Sad.”
OSG is an abbreviation for the Office of Solicitor General, and SCOTUS is an abbreviation for the Supreme Court. Conway’s account is not verified, but he confirmed it was his in an email to The Washington Post.
Last week, Conway had removed himself from consideration to head the Justice Department’s Civil Division, which defends presidential policies from lawsuits. Lawyers in the division had actually been defending the president’s travel bans, although as the legal wrangling reached the appeals courts, Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall argued the cases in court.
Conway cited timing as the reason he could not take the job, and he said he was happy to have been considered.
“I am profoundly grateful to the President and to the Attorney General for selecting me to serve in the Department of Justice. I have reluctantly concluded, however, that, for me and my family, this is not the right time for me to leave the private sector and take on a new role in the federal government,” Conway said in a statement. “Kellyanne and I continue to support the President and his Administration, and I look forward to doing so in whatever way I can from outside the government.”
Kellyanne Conway is one of the Trump’s most vocal supporters, appearing on television frequently to tirelessly support the president’s policies. She told Fox News Channel earlier this year that she thought the president’s revised travel ban would “pass legal muster,” and on the “Today” show on Monday, she defended the order again, deriding what she called “this obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president.” She added later: “This president, through his travel ban, is trying to do something to protect the people of this country.”
George Conway did not criticize the ban itself, instead focusing on the president’s remarks as possibly hurting the case to restore it.
Later, he added on Twitter: “I still VERY, VERY STRONGLY support POTUS, his Admin, policies, the executive order and of course, my wonderful wife.
“Which is why I said what I said this morning,” he added. “Every sensible lawyer in WHCO and every political appointee at DOJ wd agree with me (as some have already told me). The pt cannot be stressed enough that tweets on legal matters seriously undermine Admin agenda and POTUS — and those who support him, as I do, need to reinforce that pt and not be shy about it.”
Federal judges have consistently cited Trump’s public comments in ordering the travel ban frozen, determining that his statements show that his intent in signing the directive was not to protect national security, but rather to discriminate against Muslims.
The ban is now headed to the Supreme Court, where those suing are expected to file legal briefs next week.