George Conway
George Conway
George Conway
Now playing
03:04
George Conway: Administration is 'dumpster fire'
Now playing
02:48
GOP governor calls Trump's RNC remarks 'divisive'
rep jim clyburn georgia voting law jim crow sot sotu vpx_00000000.png
rep jim clyburn georgia voting law jim crow sot sotu vpx_00000000.png
Now playing
02:13
Rep. Clyburn blasts GA voting law: It's the 'new Jim Crow'
Joe Manchin
CNN
Joe Manchin
Now playing
02:03
'I never thought in my life ...' Why Manchin won't walk away from bipartisanship
Gaetz speaks to members of the media outside the hearing Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, testifies at before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at Rayburn House Office Building February 27, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Last year Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine for tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, unlawful excessive campaign contributions and lying to Congress as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Gaetz speaks to members of the media outside the hearing Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, testifies at before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at Rayburn House Office Building February 27, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Last year Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine for tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, unlawful excessive campaign contributions and lying to Congress as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
Now playing
06:11
'Bombastic, antagonistic, unapologetic': A look at Gaetz's political career
Former House Speaker John Boehner attends a ceremony to unveil a portrait of himself on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 in Washington.
Michael A. McCoy/AP
Former House Speaker John Boehner attends a ceremony to unveil a portrait of himself on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 in Washington.
Now playing
02:42
Boehner says Republican colleague held 10-inch knife to his throat outside House floor
President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, and Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden at the White House, Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Washington.
Andrew Harnik/AP
President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, and Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden at the White House, Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Washington.
Now playing
02:05
Biden calls for ban on assault weapons
CNN
Now playing
02:22
Biden: High-speed internet is infrastructure
AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
03:24
Donald Trump breaks his silence on Matt Gaetz
CNN/WLOX
Now playing
01:43
'He says the quiet part out loud': Borger reacts to GOP election official's remark
AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:30
Haberman: Trump had to be talked out of defending Matt Gaetz
CNN
Now playing
03:26
Georgia's Lt. governor says elections law was a result of Trump's misinformation
Now playing
02:38
GOP lawmakers can't give examples of why states need anti-transgender sports bills
CNN
Now playing
03:04
Avlon reacts to McConnell's advice to corporations
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 06:  U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the state of vaccinations in the U.S. in the State Dining Room of the White House April 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden announced that states should make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by April 19.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 06: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the state of vaccinations in the U.S. in the State Dining Room of the White House April 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden announced that states should make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by April 19. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:12
'Smarten up': Biden admonishes states' restrictive voting laws
WAVE
Now playing
01:27
'It's stupid': McConnell's warning for corporate America

Editor’s Note: Kara Alaimo, an assistant professor of public relations at Hofstra University, is the author of “Pitch, Tweet, or Engage on the Street: How to Practice Global Public Relations and Strategic Communication.” She was spokeswoman for international affairs in the Treasury Department during the Obama administration. Follow her on Twitter @karaalaimo. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author; view more opinion at CNN.

(CNN) —  

On Monday evening, President Trump’s son Eric took to Twitter to excoriate George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, for his frequent criticism of the President.

Kara  Alaimo
c/o Kara Alaimo
Kara Alaimo

“Of all the ugliness in politics, the utter disrespect George Conway shows toward his wife, her career, place of work, and everything she has fought SO hard to achieve, might top them all. @KellyannePolls is great person and frankly his actions are horrible,” he tweeted.

George Conway didn’t let the insult go unanswered. By Tuesday, he had retweeted a number of posts suggesting Eric Trump was being hypocritical.

In this case, however, Eric Trump is in the right. It is inappropriate to publicly attack your spouse’s employer.

Eric Trump is correct that, by openly criticizing the President, George Conway is being disrespectful to his wife. Disparaging a spouse’s employer is wrong because it puts the spouse in, at best, a terribly awkward position at work. A supportive partner would never do that.

Most people realize that it would be disingenuous to publicly criticize their own employer.

If you don’t support an organization’s values, you shouldn’t contribute to it or take a paycheck from it – unless, of course, you’re a whistleblower attempting to expose a major ethical issue.

This practice of discretion should also extend to a spouse’s employer. That’s because, in a functional marriage, the employment decisions of both people are made jointly. The job either spouse takes profoundly affects the whole family – how much income the person contributes to the family, how much spare time the person has, and, of course, what values they invest in. So, both spouses really need to be on board with each other’s jobs.

Spouses also obviously need to respect what their partners do for a living, because for many professionals, our jobs are a key part of our identities. That would certainly be the case for Kellyanne Conway, who played a pivotal role in Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency and has made herself a public champion and defender of his administration. George Conway’s censure of the administration therefore suggests not just a lack of respect for his wife’s work, but also for his wife herself.

Publicly attacking your spouse’s employer isn’t just a disgraceful way to treat your spouse. It’s also unfair to the employer. Since spouses often discuss their work with one another, husbands and wives could end up knowing confidential information that organizations have a right to keep private. In this case, it’s unclear how much of George Conway’s criticism of the Trump administration might stem from conversations with his wife about her work. But any president should be able to seek advice from top aides without worrying that it will lead to public backlash.

Get our free weekly newsletter

That doesn’t mean George Conway can’t disagree with the administration. However, he should make his views known to Kellyanne privately. He does, after all, enjoy rather high-level access that would allow him to share his opinions with the administration without publicly embarrassing her.

Of course, Eric Trump’s strategy of publicly attacking George Conway is also ill-advised. In doing so, the President’s son has drawn far more attention to George Conway’s criticism than it otherwise would have garnered. But, as a point of principle, he’s right: Both Kellyanne Conway and the Trump administration have a right to expect better behavior.