Election 2016

Meet 5 Highranking Members of the Trump Campaign's Coterie of Kooks

If the measure of a man is the company he keeps, we're in deep trouble.

On the campaign trail, Trump doesn’t seem to rely on anyone other than himself and his self-described “very good brain.” He opens his mouth and starts speaking frequently without seeming to know what he is going to say or any apparent plan or sentence structure. His public statements are neither spin-doctored nor poll-tested. And he has no discernible campaign strategy, other than winning.

So it might come as something of a surprise that Trump actually does have a campaign team—or rather, a cast of groveling sycophants who do the bidding of their overlord. Below, we take a look at five of the brightest stars in Trump’s constellation of crazies.

1. Corey Lewandowski

To the right of Donald Trump stands Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s right-hand (which is a totally normal-sized hand, maybe bigger-than-normal, there’s absolutely no problem in that department, trust him) man and manager of his campaign.

Lewandowski’s political involvement stretches back to his college days, when he ran for local office while still a student at University of Massachusetts Lowell. Though he ended up losing that race, he went on to work for two Republican congressional campaigns. After leaving congressional politics, Lewandowski joined the Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity. People who worked with him remember him as a loose cannon with a short fuse. According to a recent piece by Politico, he once lost his temper with a female employee, calling her a "c**t" in front of their colleagues.  

Lewandowski’s misogyny continues to the present day. He got into hot water recently when a female Breitbart reporter accused him of manhandling her after a press conference. Although the accusation was substantiated by video and reliable eyewitness accounts, the Trump campaign vehemently denied it, assailing the reporter's claims as dishonest. Lewandowski claimed she was an "attention-seeker" who often tried to falsely inject herself into the news.

2. Katrina Pierson

If there’s anyone who best embodies the numerous contradictions that make up Trump’s political ideology, it’s his national spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson. A former Ted Cruz-supporter-turned Trumpian, Pierson displays the same naked opportunism that has propelled Trump to his current frontrunner status.

Pierson claims she first became interested in politics after 9/11. She voted for Obama in 2008, but swung to the right after realizing he didn’t share her views. The straw that broke the camel’s back for her was his refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin, which she took to be a sign that he obviously hated his country. Despite her family’s reliance on government assistance when she was growing up (and the unemployment insurance she received while working on Ted Cruz’s 2012 Senate campaign), she became an active member of the Tea Party, even mounting her own primary challenge to right-winger Texas Rep. Pete Sessions last year. Though she lost, she continued working for the Tea Party before striking a Faustian bargain with the Trumpster.

Why? A recent piece in Politico quoted someone who knew Pierson as saying, “We all have to pay the bills, but for Katrina, there is no principle that she isn’t willing to abandon for the right price.” In Trumpland, that evidently counts as a virtue.

3. Jeffrey Lord

We were recently reintroduced to Jeffrey Lord, a veteran Republican strategist and rudderless Trump apologist, when an argument broke out between him and Van Jones during CNN’s coverage of Super Tuesday. Responding to criticism of Trump for not immediately disavowing David Duke, Lord argued that Democrats were the real racists because historically, the KKK was an arm of the Democratic party. Sensible people with a passing knowledge of recent history filed that claim away in their minds under Gross Distortions of History to Score Political Points, much like calling today’s Republican Party the direct descendant of the party of Lincoln.

Turns out, this wasn’t the first time Lord had beaten this particular drum. In February 2015, he wrote an article in the American Spectator arguing that the Republican Party should demand an apology from Democrats for slavery and Jim Crow. Four months after that, he penned an open letter to DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, calling on her to issue an apology for those egregious transgressions and the continuing legacy of racism they created. For all his pseudo-enlightenment on racial issues, Lord wasn’t above comparing Obama to Chairman Mao and Hitler in an American Spectator piece published in 2012. 

4. Roger Stone

A longtime political insider who worked under both Nixon and Reagan might at first blush seem like a strange ally for Trump, who has positioned himself as the consummate outsider. But with his long and not-so-illustrious history of deceptive behavior, along with his embrace of zany conspiracy theories, Roger Stone is actually cut from the same cloth as Trump—the classiest, most luxurious cloth you can buy.

Stone describes himself as a hit man for campaigns. When he was working on the Nixon reelection campaign, he once made out a check to one of Nixon’s opponents and signed it in the name of the Young Socialist Alliance, then leaked the information to the Manchester Union Leader. He has also displayed strong political acumen over the course of his career. From 1983-'84, he was a regional political director for the Reagan campaign, which ended up carrying every single state in the region, including the crucial Ohio.

Stone has a longstanding relationship with Trump that goes back several decades, but he severed ties (whether he was fired or voluntarily resigned is a matter of contention) with the campaign on Aug. 8, 2015 after controversy erupted over Trump’s infamous comments about Megyn Kelly. Before you commend Stone for his courageous stand against misogyny, just know that he still supports the Donald’s candidacy.

5. Jerry Delemus

Delemus, a former Marine and a co-chairman of Trump’s campaign, is actually one half of a rabidly pro-Trump pair. His wife, New Hampshire State Rep. Susan DeLemus, as the participant on a CNN panel about Trump, said dreamily that the Republican frontrunner “says what I’m thinking." Yeah, that’s not a good sign, Susie.

Like his wife, Jerry DeLemus shares a deep love for the likely nominee, coupled with a profound aversion to rational thought. His resume reads like a Tea Party fever-dream stuffed inside an unmoderated Breitbart comment thread. Predicting an imminent financial crash in 2013, he campaigned for the formation of a militia in New Hampshire to resist the tyrannical vicissitudes of the stock market. The next year, he joined Cliven Bundy and his ragtag crew of freedom-fighters in taking a courageous stand against the federal government and its freedom-trampling laws. Last June, he tried to organize a Draw Muhammad contest, in the style of the controversial events organized by renowned Islamophobe Pamela Geller. This noble effort was of a piece with a rally he put on for Trump in September, where someone in the crowd shouted that Obama was a Muslim. And just recently, DeLemus went back west to take part in the ill-fated occupation of a federal wildlife building.

Alas, DeLemus was recently arrested on nine federal charges for his involvement in the 2014 Bundy standoff, meaning he’ll likely have to campaign for the Donald from jail. Unfortunately, Donald may no longer want his support. He called on the Oregon occupiers to stand down, citing a need for “law and order.” Oh, the irony.

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