My Nasty Encounter With Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski

It didn’t surprise me that Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields was allegedly assaulted by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. My first encounter with Lewandowski came at the Republican Jewish Coalition Washington event in December and it wasn’t a pleasant one. It was at the RJC that Trump famously insulted the Jews to their face.

He repeated the old anti-Semitic trope, “I am a negotiator just like you folks.” He then continued with the insults by noting, “You’re not gonna support me because I don’t want your money. You want to control your politicians, that’s fine.” I personally was not that offended having grown up in a house where buying retail is considered a sin although many in the room were discomfited.

When I saw the campaign manager walking by while Trump was giving his speech, I could not resist asking him for an interview for the Huffington Post. I naturally threw in I was a Wharton grad hoping that would give me an advantage since the candidate boasts about graduating from there every chance he gets. I still knew that landing the interview was a long shot because, at the time, Trump was covered in the entertainment not the political section of the online media outlet.

Yet I did not the almost violent reaction that I got from Lewandowski. With his arms flailing, he shouted, “Never, Never, especially while Trump’s coverage is in the entertainment page.”

Then, things got even more interesting if you can believe. Since I had only seen the campaign manager on television, I wanted to verify that I was talking to Lewandowski, and not some other man with a buzz cut, by asking his name. Instead of answering Corey, he answered “Brian”.

In light of recent events surrounding Trump, this might seem a minor transgression. But it was a good indicator of things to come. It shouldn’t be surprising that someone that lies to reporters and yells at them for their outlet’s editorial policies would later assault a reporter.

The Washington Examiner’s Al Weaver witnessed some of the skirmish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cory Booker Sheds His Taylor Swift Image with New Book

Then Newark Mayor Cory Booker was made for the social media, 24/7 cable news network times we  live in. As mayor, he would direct city resources to snowbound residents via twitter. He became an honest to god action hero when he saved a woman from a burning building. Booker made being mayor look easy and rode his celebrity into a US Senate seat.

His new book “United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing Common Good” shows the Senator has grown as a politician.  Now a US Senator, he is ready to admit that moving to the projects in Newark after Yale law school wasn’t as easy as he made it appear at the time.  In a scene that will make you laugh and cry at the same time, the former 6’3’’ football player at Stanford confessed to hiding behind a 5’2″ elderly African American lady when she was introducing him to the other residents of his new home in Brick Towers. A reader of this book will soon realize that the real superheroes are not Batman and Superman but people such as the president of tenant association at the falling down Bridge Street Towers where Booker first moved when he came to Newark, who fought racism, poverty, and corruption with dignity. What strength it must have taken for Virginia Jones to continue fighting for these projects after her only son was killed in the courtyard.

The then city councilman and mayor acknowledges making a few mistakes and having some regrets such as the death of a young boy in the first days of his mayoral administration that still haunts him. He concedes that there were times he wanted to give up and leave Newark.  He thought to himself, “I am a Yale Law School graduate. I don’t need this.”

His dogged perseverance has  made him the 21st person in American history to go from mayor to US Senator, the fourth African American elected to the US Senate, and, as he likes to boast, “the first vegan US Senator.” His political trajectory might not stop there. He is rumored to be on the short list for Vice President and the Supreme Court. During an interview before his appearance at the Free Library of Philadelphia, he put the rumors to rest. The senator said, “I have got the job of my dreams. I am really enjoying it. I fully intend to stay in it for my term or more.”

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The RJC’s Quandry: To Trump or Not to Trump

On Friday, Politico ran a story by Glenn Thrush and Alex Isenstadt titled, “Welcome to the GOP Civil War,” which suggests that the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) will not endorse Trump if he is the nominee.

Here’s the relevant section as highlighted by JewishInsider.com

”Next month, the Republican Jewish Coalition, a group of powerful GOP donors, will gather at the Venetian Hotel and Resort, which is owned by Republican benefactor and RJC board member Sheldon Adelson, for their annual spring meeting. Attendees are likely to vent their disgust with Trump, who has been slow to disavow support by white supremacist groups. And at the meeting, according to two sources familiar with its planning, the RJC is expected to take up a pressing question: whether to even support Trump if he’s the GOP nominee.”

It sounded strange to me that the RJC members, who are some of the most politically active people in the country, would sit on their hands during a presidential race. Seeing and hearing their antipathy toward Hillary Clinton during the RJC Washington forum in December, I couldn’t imagine this group would withhold their endorsement of Trump and help elect Clinton the next president of the United States.

I initially contacted Matt Brooks, the executive director of the RJC to verify the accuracy of the Politico report. He emailed, “That was anonymous speculation in the article. As a rule we don’t comment on anonymous sources or telegraph in any matter what our fall plans may or may not include.”

I then surveyed the many RJC board members that I know if the organization’s plan was not to endorse Trump. All of them gave me a variation of Fred Zeidman’s answer-“You heard it before I did.” Most of them demurred from definitively saying they would vote for Trump if he was their party’s nominee. One Rubio supporter said,”I am still hoping that it doesn’t come to that.”

When pressed on whom they would vote for in a Trump-Clinton match up, most admitted they could not envision voting for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances. Many said that the conversion of Trump’s daughter Ivanka to Judaism and marriage to a Jew assuaged their fears that he was really a racist. Some even went so far as to defend Trump’s refusal to disavow the Klu Klux Klan and former Grand Wizard David Duke to CNN’s Jake Tapper. One former Bush supporter said, “Are you listening only to Rubio? He did disavow. Do your homework and don’t listen only to Rubio.”

There may be more hand wringing than usual but I  expect the RJC will endorse the GOP nominee, even it is Trump,  based on multiple interviews with RJC board members.