By Ayesha Rascoe and Karen Freifeld
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway criticized President Donald Trump's tweets about the administration's temporary travel ban on Monday, saying they were undercutting the Justice Department's ability to defend his policies.
The president's messages "may make some people feel better," but they will not help the administration achieve its goal of getting the Supreme Court to rule in its favor, George Conway said in a Twitter message.
George Conway is a lawyer who last week withdrew from contention for a senior Justice Department post; his wife was
Trump's 2016 campaign manager before joining him in the White House as a senior adviser who is one of Trump's most vigorous defenders.
In later Twitter messages, George Conway emphasized he still "very, very strongly" supports Trump and his executive order, but he said tweets on legal matters "seriously undermine" the administration's agenda. He also said that "sensible" lawyers in the White House and Justice Department agree with him.
In his early morning Twitter messages on Monday, Trump potentially hurt his administration's legal case as it seeks to have the Supreme Court overturn lower courts' rulings and allow the travel ban to go into effect. He assailed the Justice Department for a revised version of the measure that he called "watered down" and "politically correct."
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about George Conway's tweets.
The travel ban, which Trump says is aimed at preventing attacks in the United States, seeks to halt entry to the United States for 90 days for people from several predominantly Muslim countries and bar refugees for four months. Critics say it is discriminatory.
Conway was in contention to head the civil division of the Justice Department, which would have given him responsibility for defending the travel ban in court. He said last week that it was "not the right time" for him to leave the private sector.
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Caren Bohan and Frances Kerry)