Following accusations that he sexually assaulted and harassed a donor last month, Corey Lewandowski has been barred from Trump-owned facilities and MAGA events.
However, Lewandowski’s banishment may not be permanent, as former President Donald Trump is said to have left the door open for his longtime top assistant to re-enter his inner circle based on “good behavior.”
After being accused of following and frequently touching donor Trashelle Odom, Corey Lewandowski was fired as the chairman of Trump’s super PAC, Make America Great Again Action.
Since then, Trump “has made a point of telling close associates and Republican allies that they should avoid inviting Lewandowski to public events or ‘parties,’ particularly if alcohol is flowing or if the event is held at one of the ex-president’s prized private clubs.”
“Others close to Trump have already told subordinates, as well as fellow players in the party and in the conservative movement more broadly, to remove Lewandowski (at least for now) from invitations and emails for upcoming GOP and MAGA festivities, according to two sources familiar with the situation,” according to the site.
Given that he has long “delighted many of (Lewandowski’s) Republican enemies,” given that he has long “been despised inside Donald Trump’s inner sanctum.”
However, Lewandowski was not informed of his dismissal, and those close to Trump anticipated that it would be just temporary.
One of the sources stated, “The [former] president mentioned that with ‘good behavior,’ Corey could be OK. Like he was talking about somebody… on parole.”
According to three individuals familiar with the situation, Lewandowski first refused to go.
STORY CONTINUES BELOW...
What followed were phases of denial and bargaining before being abandoned by the world he claimed to rule.
Lewandowski disputed the specifics of the purported event, first personally and then publicly via a lawyer. When it didn’t work, he simply refused to leave.
Lewandowski then decided on a not-so-modest proposition to Trumpworld: in return for his resignation, the super PAC and the pro-Trump crew would give him a substantial amount of money to leave. According to two informed individuals, the former Trump campaign manager’s demand was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But, despite the fact that Lewandowski’s super PAC, Make America Great Again Action, presently has $6.58 million in donations, mainly from Trump megadonors, he didn’t have the clout he appeared to believe he had. His other Trump aides flatly refused him.
“It doesn’t matter if he’d asked for five dollars, it wasn’t going to happen,” one person acquainted with the incident said flatly.
Former President Trump, Lewandowski’s ex-boss and friend, was one person who wanted him to go empty-handed. The twice-impeached ex-president didn’t want to see Lewandowski walk away with any of that money—money that Trump sees as his, despite the legal barrier that must exist between candidates and super PACs.
According to two people with knowledge of the situation, Trump was informed shortly after Lewandowski made his request and laughed at the notion of paying Lewandowski a significant amount of money to be removed.
Rather than confronting the famously aggressive operator, his MAGA Action comrades just abandoned him. Within days after Lewandowski’s dismissal, they’d launched a new super PAC with an eerily similar name: Make America Great Again, Again! On Monday, the new organization was dubbed “the ONLY Trump-approved super PAC,” but no mention of the errant former president was made.
Lewandowski’s fall from grace comes from accusations that he sexually assaulted a big contributor to his own super PAC at a charity event last week. Trashelle Odom, who is married to a top Idaho developer, said in a statement to Politico that Lewandowski made a series of unwelcome approaches throughout the evening, touching her buttocks and one of her legs, bragging about his genitalia, speaking lewdly to her, and flashing his room key. According to reports, the Odoms requested the super PAC to return their $100,000 if the organization did not cut connections with Lewandowski.
While Lewandowski’s demands fell short this time, he was acting on precedent. Following his humiliating departure during Trump’s first attempt, which was also triggered by allegations of assaulting a woman, Lewandowski received a hefty $20,000-per-month severance package, earning him almost $500,000 for his 14 months of service.
If the name of the new super PAC seems familiar, that’s because it is. A lot of Trump-aligned fundraising organizations use a similar jargon. Those committees include Trump Make America Great Again, Make America Great Again PAC (his previous campaign committee), and America First Action, in addition to MAGA Action and MAGA Again!
That redundancy attracted instant mockery and raised concerns about why the team felt the need to establish a new super PAC in the first place. However, it seems that the stakeholders had little option.
According to New York Times writer Maggie Haberman, Lewandowski was “one of two board members,” and with 50 percent ownership of the super PAC, he could not be voted out. This, according to Haberman, is what prompted the take-my-ball-and-go-home strategy.
Folks getting caught up on hilarity around the idea this is a “rebrand” are missing a basic point – Trump folks had no way to legally replace Lewandowski, one of two board members of the first super PAC, unless he stepped down, so they’re now forming a new group https://t.co/tqWfGc0L9O
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) October 4, 2021
Because Lewandowski’s organization was a super PAC, federal election law prohibited it from collaborating with candidates directly. And, although Trump has not officially accepted credit for firing his former top assistant, and the group itself seems to have struggled to remove him, it is widely assumed that Trump, the de facto head of the Republican Party, was the one who finally made the decision.
Trump chose Lewandowski to lead MAGA Action as early as February. The organization announced its formation in late May. It’s been previously reported that Trump’s former campaign manager’s rehabilitation was said to mark yet another nascent schism in Trump’s inner circle, with the opportunistic Lewandowski—one of the most widely despised fixtures in Trumpworld—filling a void left by certain aides and other associates who had sought some distance from Trump amid the fallout from the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol, which he had championed.
MAGA Again! formally confirmed Lewandowski’s dismissal in a press release on Monday, stating that the $6.58 million in net assets on MAGA Action’s financial sheet will be transferred to the new organization. However, the move has yet to be verified, and the next batch of federal financial reports is due in January. When questioned directly about the move, MAGA Again! officials did not respond.