George Thomas Conway III
September 2, 1963
|Education||Harvard University (AB)|
Yale University (JD)
|Political party||Republican (before 2018)|
George Thomas Conway III, (born September 2, 1963) is an American lawyer and conservative political activist. Conway was considered by President Donald Trump for the position of Solicitor General of the United States, and a post as an assistant attorney general heading the Civil Division at the United States Department of Justice, but withdrew himself from consideration.
In 2018, Conway emerged as a vocal Trump critic, even though his wife, Kellyanne Conway, worked for Trump from 2016 to 2020. During the 2020 presidential election, Conway was notably involved with the Lincoln Project, a coalition of former Republicans dedicated to defeating Trump.
Early life and education
George Conway's father, an electrical engineer, worked for defense contractor Raytheon. His mother was an organic chemist from the Philippines. He is half-Filipino. Conway grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Marlborough High School in Marlborough, Massachusetts. In 1984, Conway graduated from Harvard College magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry, where William A. Haseltine served as his faculty advisor. Three years later, he obtained his Juris Doctor from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal and president of the school's chapter of the Federalist Society.
In 1987 and 1988, Conway served as a law clerk to Judge Ralph K. Winter Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In September 1988, Conway joined the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. He was named a partner of the firm in the Litigation Department in January 1994. His practice focused on litigation involving securities, mergers and acquisitions, contracts, and antitrust.
Conway was one of the attorneys who represented Paula Jones in her lawsuit against U.S. president Bill Clinton. During the representation of Jones, he worked closely with Ann Coulter and Matt Drudge.
On March 29, 2010, Conway argued the securities case of Morrison v. National Australia Bank before the U.S. Supreme Court. Conway won the case, which was decided by an 8–0 vote; the opinion was written by Justice Antonin Scalia.
Conway has been considered for some United States Department of Justice posts. In January 2017, he was considered for the post of Solicitor General. The job eventually went to Noel Francisco. On March 17, 2017, it was reported that he would be nominated to run the United States Department of Justice Civil Division. However, on June 2, 2017, Conway announced that he declined to pursue the post. On November 16, 2018, Conway stated that a reason he did not join the Trump administration was because it was "like a shitshow in a dumpster fire".
On November 9, 2018, Conway and Neal Katyal wrote an op-ed in the New York Times challenging the constitutionality of Trump's appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general following the termination of Jeff Sessions. Trump relied on the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA), which allows the president to make interim appointments, to appoint Whitaker. Conway and Katyal argued that it was a mistake to try to use the FVRA to override the explicit wording of the Constitution, which requires Senate approval of all appointees who answer directly to the president.
In November 2018, Conway organized a group called Checks and Balances. The group was composed of more than a dozen members of the conservative-libertarian Federalist Society, which had been instrumental in selecting candidates for the Trump administration to appoint to federal courts. The New York Times reported that the group was "urging their fellow conservatives to speak up about what they say are the Trump administration's betrayals of bedrock legal norms".
Conway is a founding member and advisor of the Lincoln Project, a conservative Super PAC formed in December 2019 and dedicated to "Defeat President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box". Its detailed aim is "persuading enough disaffected conservatives, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in swing states and districts to help ensure a victory in the Electoral College, and congressional majorities that don't enable or abet Mr. Trump's violations of the Constitution". The group released its first video on January 9, 2020; called "The MAGA Church"; it warns evangelicals to beware of false prophets. On August 23, 2020, he announced that he would be taking a leave from the Lincoln Project in order to devote more time to his family. Kellyanne Conway, his wife, announced her departure from the White House the same day as well. In 2021, Conway said that the Lincoln Project should shut down considering revelations that some of its leadership ignored warnings that another founder was harassing young men, including interns.
Following the first impeachment of Donald Trump, Conway opined in The Washington Post that if the relevant witnesses are not allowed to testify during the Senate Trump impeachment trial, Trump's defenders will be negatively affected by "the very evidence they sought to suppress". Upon Senator Mitch McConnell's refusal to subpoena John Bolton in a Senate impeachment trial, Conway and Neal K. Katyal opined in the New York Times, "There is only one possible explanation for this behavior: [McConnell] is afraid of the truth. Otherwise, what argument can there be for refusing to hear from a central witness like Mr. Bolton, who other witnesses have indicated was exceptionally concerned about the suspension of military aid to Ukraine?"
In the late 1990s Conway dated conservative pundit Laura Ingraham. After he saw Kellyanne Fitzpatrick on the cover of a society magazine, he asked Ann Coulter for an introduction, and began dating her. George and Kellyanne married in 2001. They have four children and live in Washington, D.C. Prior to Trump's presidency, the family lived in Closter, New Jersey.
In 2020, Conway's daughter Claudia Conway made a series of anti-Trump comments on TikTok. On July 2, she said that her father approved of utilizing her right to free speech and voicing her own opinions. On July 3, Conway tweeted a request that all media cease communicating with his daughter. Despite her father being against Trump, in response to her father's attempted censorship, Claudia tweeted "You're just mad that I'm finally getting my voice heard. Sorry your marriage failed". Claudia's social media accounts were then briefly made private.
Since 2018, Conway's stated political positions have often been contrary to those taken by his wife on behalf of the Trump administration. His published legal interpretations of Trump's actions differ from his wife's positions, and on Twitter he has been critical of Trump on a personal level. In March 2019, Trump responded to Conway's attacks by calling him a "stone cold LOSER & husband from hell" on Twitter. Kellyanne defended Trump's comments in an interview, saying that Trump was "a counterpuncher" and was free to respond when he is attacked.
- Conway, George; Katyal, Neal K. (November 8, 2018). "Trump's Appointment of the Acting Attorney General Is Unconstitutional". Opinion. The New York Times.
- Conway, George T., III; Savarese, John F (July 1, 2013). "The Impact of 'Kiobel' Curtailing the Extraterritorial Scope of the Alien Tort Statute" (PDF). Wall Street Lawyer. 17 (7): 3–10.
- Conway, George; Ku, Julian (July 4, 2013). "When Corporate Defendants Go on Offense" (PDF). The Wall Street Journal. p. A11.
- Conway, George (June 11, 2018). "Executive Power: The Terrible Arguments Against the Constitutionality of the Mueller Investigation". Lawfare. Published by the Lawfare Institute in cooperation with the Brookings Institution.
- Conason, Joe; Lyons, Gene (March 4, 2000). "Impeachment's little elves". Salon.com. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
- "FilAms Greet Potential Trump Pick for Solicitor General With Surprise, Skepticism". Manila Mail. Media Manila, Inc. January 12, 2017. Archived from the original on February 3, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
- Lat, David. "A Closer Look At George Conway, Wachtell Lipton Partner And Husband Of Kellyanne Conway". Above the Law. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- @gtconway3d (April 6, 2020). "My college advisor!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Lat, David (January 4, 2017). "An Exciting New Entrant In The Solicitor General Sweepstakes". Above the Law. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
- "Masthead, Vol 96(4)". Yale Law Journal. March 1987. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
- "George T. Conway bio". Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Archived from the original on August 30, 2019.
- Van Natta Jr., Don; Abramson, Jill (January 24, 1999). "Quietly, Team of Lawyers Who Disliked Clinton Kept Jones Case Alive". The New York Times. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
- Senator Harkin (IA) (February 12, 1999). "Trial of William Jefferson Clinton". Congressional Record. 145 (26): 106th Congress, 1st Session, Senate. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
- Terris, Ben (May 13, 2017). "George Conway is the man at the center of everything". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
- Morrison v. National Australia Bank (2010). SCOTUSblog. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
- Diamond, Jeremy (December 31, 2016). "Kellyanne Conway's husband on short list for top US lawyer job". CNN. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
- Mauro, Tony (January 3, 2017). "SCOTUS Bar Warms Up to Wachtell Lawyer as Possible Trump SG". National Law Journal. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
- Passarella, Gina (January 1, 2017). "Wachtell's George Conway a Potential Trump Pick for Solicitor General". New York Law Journal. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
- Viswanatha, Aruna; Kendall, Brent (March 17, 2017). "Kellyanne Conway's Husband Is Set to Lead Justice Department Division". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
- Berenson, Tessa (March 17, 2017). "Kellyanne Conway's Husband to Be Nominated to Department of Justice Post". Time. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
- Sharman, Jon (March 17, 2017). "Kellyanne Conway's husband George 'set for top job at Justice Department'". The Independent (UK). Retrieved March 18, 2017.
- Goldmacher, Shane (March 17, 2017). "Kellyanne Conway's husband emerges as front-runner to head DOJ's civil division". Politico. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
- McCaskill, Nolan D. (June 2, 2017). "Kellyanne Conway's husband bows out of DOJ post". Politico. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
- Davis, Julie Hirschfeld (June 2, 2017). "Husband of Kellyanne Conway Steps Back From Possible Justice Dept. Post". New York Times. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
- Price, Greg (November 16, 2018). "The Trump administration is a "shitshow in a dumpster fire," says George Conway About Turning Down Justice Department Appointment". Newsweek. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
- Neal K. Katyal, George T. Conway III (November 8, 2018). "Trump's Appointment of the Acting Attorney General Is Unconstitutional". The New York Times. p. A31. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
For the president to install Mr. Whitaker as our chief law enforcement officer is to betray the entire structure of our charter document.
- Rudalevige, Andrew (November 10, 2018). "No one is surprised that Jeff Sessions is out. But is his replacement's appointment unconstitutional?". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
But Conway's pedigree is quite different. While he has recently become a public critic of Trump, in the 1990s Conway helped with the Paula Jones case that helped lead to Bill Clinton's impeachment; he is married to high-ranking Trump staffer Kellyanne Conway; and he was seriously considered for the role of Trump's solicitor general.
- Liptak, Adam (November 14, 2018). "Conservative Lawyers Say Trump Has Undermined the Rule of Law". The New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
- Schwartz, Brian (December 19, 2019). "'Never Trump' super PAC raises over $400,000 on strength of impeachment day donations". CNBC. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
- Peoples, Steve (December 17, 2019). "Trump conservative critics launch PAC to fight reelection". AP News. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
- Yilek, Caitlin (December 17, 2019). "'Empty faith led by a bogus prophet': George Conway leads Never Trumpers denouncing president". Washington Examiner. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
- "Republican election strategists launch anti-Trump project ahead of 2020". Axios. December 17, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
- Allen, Mike (January 9, 2020). "First look: Anti-Trump Republican video mocks 'MAGA Church'". Axios. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
- @gtconway3d (August 23, 2020). "So I'm withdrawing from @ProjectLincoln to devote more time to family matters. And I'll be taking a Twitter hiatus. Needless to say, I continue to support the Lincoln Project and its mission. Passionately" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- LeBlanc, Paul (August 24, 2020). "Kellyanne Conway announces she's leaving the White House and George Conway is stepping away from Lincoln Project". CNN.
- Hakim, Danny; Becker, Jo (February 16, 2021). "George Conway, a Lincoln Project founder, backs shuttering the group amid a harassment crisis". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 16, 2021. Retrieved October 22, 2021.
- Conway, George (December 19, 2019). "George Conway: Republican senators run the risk of being shamed by Trump himself". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
- Sargent, Greg (December 30, 2019). "Explosive new revelations just weakened Trump's impeachment defenses". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
- Katyal, Neal K.; Conway III, George T. (January 7, 2020). "Why Is Mitch McConnell So Afraid of John Bolton?". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
- Cirelli, Ken (December 4, 2016). "The strange case of Kelly Anne Conway's zip-code-envy". dailykos.com.
- Santucci, Jeanine (June 30, 2020). "Kellyanne Conway's teen daughter hopes to help 'educate' with TikToks opposing Trump, supporting Black Lives Matter". USA Today. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Neumann, Sean (July 2, 2020). "Kellyanne Conway's Daughter Is an Anti-Trump TikTok Star: 'My Dad Thinks It's Awesome I'm Speaking for Myself'". People.com. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Weaver, Hilary (July 4, 2020). "Kellyanne Conway's Daughter Claudia Conway Tweeted That She Is 'Over' Her Parents 'Trying to Silence' Her". Elle. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Cauterucci, Christina (July 7, 2020). "Claudia Conway Isn't a Liberal Hero. She's a Normal Teenager". Slate Magazine. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Evans, Greg (July 3, 2020). "George & Kellyanne Conway Tell Journalists To Stay Away From Daughter Claudia; She Doesn't Take It Well". Deadline. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Brunker, Alicia (July 4, 2020). "Kellyanne Conway's Anti-Trump Daughter Claudia Says Her Parents Are 'Trying to Silence Her'". InStyle. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Polantz, Katelyn (June 12, 2018). "Kellyanne Conway's husband defends Mueller's investigation". CNN. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Panetta, Grace (May 25, 2018). "Kellyanne Conway's husband reportedly gives anti-Trump writers suggestions on how to improve their arguments". Business Insider. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Wagner, John, Trump's installation of acting AG was unconstitutional, argues husband of Kellyanne Conway, The Washington Post, November 8, 2018
- Bowden, John (September 15, 2018). "George Conway rips Trump over tweet about Obama's '57 states' gaffe". The Hill. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
- Wagner, John; Dawsey, Josh (March 20, 2019). "'Husband from hell!': Trump escalates feud with spouse of Kellyanne Conway, says he's hurting his family". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
- Lippman, Daniel. "Kellyanne Conway defends Trump after he attacked her husband". Politico. Retrieved March 22, 2019.