At first, it looked like a package deal: Kellyanne Conway would join President Donald Trump's White House staff, her husband, George, the new administration's Justice Department.
The former happened, but the latter did not. And now, in a Washington spectacle unseen since the wife of Richard Nixon's attorney general sounded alarms about Watergate, the spouse of a top presidential advisor is issuing urgent public warnings about Trump's mental health.
As the Trump administration got underway, media reports placed George Conway in line to head the Justice Department's civil division. But then Trump rocked the agency by firing FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, and within weeks George Conway withdrew as a candidate to remain a private lawyer.
Conway started publicly criticizing Trump days later. "Sad," he tweeted, invoking the familiar Trump lament, that the president had complicated the legal defense of his travel ban with impolitic comments.
Soon afterward he sought to soften the impact. "I still 'VERY, VERY STRONGLY'" support Trump, he assured Twitter followers, "and of course, my wonderful wife."
By the spring of 2018, Conway's tone had changed. After Trump called the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller unconstitutional, Conway wrote a Lawfare article rebutting that "meritless legal position."
That summer, he ripped the president more sharply. As journalists scrutinized Trump's dubious assertions, White House disarray and diplomacy with Russia, Conway publicly mused about the fate of a business executive behaving similarly.
"What if a CEO routinely made false and misleading statements about himself, the company, and results, and public attacked business partners, company 'divisions' (w/scare quotes!), employees, and analysts, and kowtowed to a dangerous competitor?" Conway tweeted.
Kellyanne Conway bristles at questions about her husband's words as unrelated to her White House work. Trump accuses George Conway of seeking attention.
Washington cynics dismiss his stance for a different reason. While she retains Trump's favor through unyielding public advocacy, they reason, he courts the president's foes with an eye toward life after the administration.
But recent days make it more difficult to ignore the substance of what Conway says about the most powerful man in the world. Last week, Conway questioned Trump's mental fitness while excoriating him for false claims about federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson.
"Have we ever seen this degree of brazen, pathological mendacity in American public life?" Conway tweeted. "Whether or not impeachment is in order, a serious inquiry needs to be made about this man's condition of mind."
Over the weekend, the embattled president launched a scattershot volley of attacks against General Motors, "Radical Left Democrats," "the Fake News Media" and the late GOP Sen. John McCain. Trump retweeted mugshots, circulated by a well-known conspiracy theorist, of MS-13 gang members facing murder charges.
"His condition is getting worse," Conway tweeted.
Monday he got more specific. Conway circulated medical criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
"Don't assume that the things he says and does are part of a rational plan or strategy, because they seldom are," Conway tweeted. "Consider them as a product of his pathologies, and they make perfect sense."
Others have raised such concerns. In his unsuccessful 2016 GOP presidential campaign, Sen. Ted Cruz called Trump an "utterly amoral … pathological liar."
Some mental health professionals that year publicly called Trump psychologically unwell. After Comey's firing, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein mentioned the Constitution's 25th Amendment outlining procedures for removing a president on grounds of incapacity, according to former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
Rosenstein later said publicly he doesn't believe any basis exists for invoking the 25th Amendment and never advocated that. Conway on Monday raised the issue anew.
"All Americans should be thinking seriously now about Trump's mental condition and psychological state, including and especially the media, Congress – and the Vice President and Cabinet," Conway tweeted.
If his wife thinks seriously about it, she doesn't show it.
"No, I don't share those concerns," Kellyanne Conway told reporters at the White House on Monday.