WASHINGTON -- Kellyanne Conway's spouse is a "husband from hell!" President Donald Trump declared Wednesday, escalating his awkward public fight with the husband of one of his closest advisers. A "whack job," he added later.
Trump's feud with George Conway played out with ever more heated rhetoric on social media. Conway, an attorney who has questioned Trump's mental health, fired back after Trump's latest tweet, saying the president seems "determined to prove my point."
The caustic exchanges also drew a response from Kellyanne Conway, the longtime Republican pollster who served as Trump's third campaign manager before joining the administration as a counselor to the president.
Conway, who is considered one of Trump's top advisers and is a high-profile face on television defending him, told Politico that Trump had avoided targeting her husband for months "out of respect for me." But she added: "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?"
Trump on Wednesday called Conway's husband "A total loser!" He claimed George Conway was "VERY jealous of his wife's success" and was assailing the president because Trump "didn't give him the job he so desperately wanted." In fact, it was George Conway who took himself out of consideration for a position with the Justice Department, citing family considerations.
"I barely know him, but just take a look," Trump added on Twitter, "a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!"
Speaking to reporters later as he left the White House for a trip to Ohio, Trump called George Conway a "whack job" and said he's doing a "tremendous disservice" to his wife and family.
George Conway has repeatedly questioned the president's mental state, tweeting that "Americans should be thinking seriously now about Trump's mental condition and psychological state."
On Wednesday, after Trump's latest tweet, George Conway, posted a link to the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality order, and wrote in response to Trump's latest missive: "You. Are. Nuts."
He also congratulated Trump Tuesday for having "guaranteed that millions of more people are going to learn about narcissistic personality disorder and malignant narcissism!"
"Great job!" he wrote.
George Conway has also pushed back on the idea that he doesn't know Trump personally, telling The Washington Post that he has had a number of conversations with Trump over the past decade. He described Trump's presidency as "maddening to watch" and said he himself tweets so he doesn't "end up screaming" at his wife about the president.
A campaign official said that Trump has met countless people and that it was unclear if Trump would recognize George Conway if he approached him. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Washington author and hostess Sally Quinn said she chatted about the situation with Kellyanne Conway and several other writers at a recent party.
"She kept saying she couldn't understand why people wanted to talk about it," Quinn said. "I said it's a good story."
A longtime chronicler of Washington's social scene, Quinn couldn't recall a similar type of spat.
"People often will compare it to Mary Matalin and James Carville," she said, referring to the married political consultants from opposing parties. But she said it was not the same. "What they disagreed on was policy. I think this is a totally different situation. This is about morals and values and ethics."
Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.