The White House is already a paranoid workplace, and with Donald Trump facing impeachment, it’s only going to get worse: Who will turn on him? Who will stay loyal? Who’s going to bail when the hypothetical tapes are released? With this in mind, Trump is reportedly thinking about bringing back his most slavishly loyal Day One: Corey Lewandowski, his first campaign manager, who’s been hovering around the fringes of the White House for years, even as Trump and his children have repeatedly boxed him out.
According to CNN, the famously combative Lewandowski took a meeting at the White House on Thursday to discuss a “crisis management type role.” In theory, he would be responsible for assembling a team to manage the coming impeachment crisis, similar to the impeachment team Bill Clinton’s administration assembled in the ’90s. (Lewandowski pushed back against the report, telling CNN in a carefully worded statement that he had “not spoken directly to the president about leading an effort to push back on the fake impeachment narrative.”) Along with Lewandowski, the White House is also reportedly thinking of tapping another member of the campaign gang: David Bossie, who served as deputy campaign manager, and who was last seen in the doghouse for duping elderly Trump supporters out of their money. (Bossie maintains he did nothing improper.)
There’s something poetic about this potential homecoming for Lewandowski, who maintained his loyalty to Trump even after he was dramatically pushed out of the campaign by Ivanka Trump, got turned down for an administration job, and tried and failed to operate a lobbying firm that touted its special access to the president. Nevertheless, he continued to display his admiration, cowriting an adulatory memoir of the 2016 campaign called Let Trump Be Trump, and frequently defending the president in any medium possible. His loyalty has begun to pay off. Trump publicly declared his support for Lewandowski in a potential New Hampshire Senate race (“He’s tough, and he’s smart…so we’ll see what happens. He would be fantastic”), and the Republican National Committee quietly paid the $160,000 bill for Lewandowski’s lawyers to help him prepare for a congressional hearing.
At the moment, the White House has no clear strategy for handling impeachment proceedings, judging from a series of rookie errors it has made in handling the fallout, including emailing a list of Republican talking points to several House Democrats, then attempting to recall them. Bringing on Lewandowski would be a direct indicator that its strategy would be to “let Trump be Trump”—meaning, essentially, that there would be no strategy apart from the words tumbling from Trump’s mouth at any given time. To be fair, this has always been what Trump’s base responds best to anyway. And in the case of this particular president, any so-called strategy is destined to be tossed out the window at the drop of a tweet. In that sense, Lewandowski may actually be the best man for the job.
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