WASHINGTON (NYTIMES, WASHINGTON POST) - George Conway - a partner at a prominent law firm and the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway - has withdrawn himself from consideration to become the head of the Justice Department's civil division, he said in a statement on Friday (June 2), citing family considerations as he became the latest sign of personnel woes at the White House.
Conway had been United States President Donald Trump's pick to lead an office staffed by about 1,000 lawyers - with a vast portfolio of cases dealing with issues ranging from national security to the actions of the president - but his nomination had not yet been submitted to the Senate.
Conway's decision to step aside comes as the White House - hobbled from the start by a sluggish transition that failed to generate a list of fully vetted candidates - is still struggling to fill some of the most important positions in the federal government.
James Donovan, whom Trump nominated last month to be the deputy secretary of the Treasury, dropped out just three days later, citing family considerations. Also last month, Mark Green, a Tennessee state senator and Army flight surgeon, became the second person to withdraw as Trump's prospective secretary of the Army.
The president has also yet to settle on a new FBI director after his abrupt firing last month of James Comey. Former Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut announced he did not want to be considered for that position, citing his law firm's role in the legal team being assembled to represent Trump during investigations into whether his presidential campaign had ties to Russia.
And at the White House - troubled by questions about the Russia investigations - the search for a new communications director to replace Mike Dubke, who resigned last week, has so far come up empty as multiple candidates have declined to accept the post.
On Friday, Conway said he was "profoundly grateful" to have been chosen to lead the civil division.
"I have reluctantly concluded, however, that, for me and my family, this is not the right time for me to leave the private sector and take on a new role in the federal government," he said in a statement.
"Kellyanne and I continue to support the president and his administration, and I look forward to doing so in whatever way I can from outside the government."
The Conways have four young children and have been commuting between Washington and New Jersey since Kellyanne assumed her post at the White House. George Conway is a litigator at the New York City-based law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.