President Donald Trump on Wednesday ratcheted up his feud with George Conway, the husband of his top aide Kellyanne Conway who has questioned the president's mental state, calling Conway a "whack job" to reporters at the White House.
"I don't know him, he's a whack job there's no question about it," Trump said. "But I really don't know him. He, I think he's doing a tremendous disservice to a wonderful wife."
"Kellyanne is a wonderful woman and I call him 'Mr. Kellyanne.' The fact is that he did a tremendous disservice to a wife and family. She's a wonderful woman," Trump said.
In an interview with Politico, Kellyanne Conway said the president initially did not respond out of respect to her.
“He left it alone for months out of respect for me,” Conway told Politico on Wednesday. “But you think he shouldn’t respond when somebody, a non-medical professional accuses him of having a mental disorder? You think he should just take that sitting down?”
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump issued a scathing attack on Twitter against Conway in which he called the prominent conservative lawyer "a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!"
The president's tweet, in which he accused Conway of being "VERY jealous" of his wife, comes after Conway fired off a series of tweets Monday morning questioning the president's mental fitness after his weekend tweetstorm.
Trump on Tuesday slammed Conway as a "total loser" in his first response to Conway, while retweeting his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who recycled a condescending nickname President Trump has used, calling George Conway "Mr. Kellyanne Conway" and asserting that "he hurts his wife because he is jealous of her success."
George Conway issued a speedy response on Tuesday on Twitter, sarcastically congratulating the president for effectively drawing more attention to his original tweets in which he ponders various mental disorders that Conway argues could be applied, zeroing in on “narcissistic personality disorder.”
After the president's latest tweet on Wednesday, Conway was quick to issue another sarcastic response to the president, welcoming his continued engagement on the issue as proof of his point, saying "You seem determined to prove my point. Good for you!"
"You. Are. Nuts." Conway added in a second tweet.
The president has previously said "I really don’t know the guy."
But Conway had been up for a top Justice Department job leading the civil division in the early months of the Trump administration, before ultimately withdrawing himself from consideration in June 2017, citing family concerns.
While Conway has recently escalated his tweets in expressing his concerns about the president's mental fitness, he has long used the social media platform to tweet critically about the president, even as his wife fills a top job in the White House and is one of the president's most ardent public defenders.
Just last week, Conway took to Twitter to call the president a "liar" and "pathological," raising the question of impeachment and calling for a "serious inquiry ... about this man’s condition of mind," and questioning: "Is it possible to count? At any level of government in this country, in any party, have we ever seen anything like this? It’s beyond politics. It’s nuts. It’s a disorder."
In an interview with the Washington Post Tuesday, George Conway challenged the notion that the president hardly knows him and noted that he’s had a number of notable interactions with the president over the course of a decade, including on legal matters.
In the interview, he defended his penchant for tweeting about the president as a way to avoid letting his frustrations spill into his marriage.
“The tweeting is just the way to get it out of the way, so I can get it off my chest and move on with my life that day. That’s basically it. Frankly, it’s so I don’t end up screaming at her about it,” Conway told the Post.
George Conway declined to comment on the state of his marriage, other than to say that he wishes his wife didn’t work in the White House, though he said he is proud of her.
“No one was prouder than I was that she was able to elect this man president despite his obvious flaws,” he said of his wife, insisting that he is not jealous.
But he also took some credit for her present success.
“I made it possible for her to be where she is today. So there’s that. It’s not about jealousy. It’s about reality. Who this man is, and whether he’s fit for public office. Which, as I’ve said, he isn’t,” Conway said.