Lewandowski is confirmed back for 2020, folks! He just joined Mike Pence’s political action committee. This will let him travel with the Veep, and it definitely means he’s enlisted in Trump’s reserve forces for the coming election.
Pence’s Great America Committee is the first PAC created by a sitting Vice President. It has already dispensed more than $200,000 to help Republicans in tough Congressional and state-house races.
There has been some speculation that Pence has built out this PAC to support a presidential bid of his own in the future. (Rubio and Cruz also created PACs before they announced their respective runs, so it’s a pretty common thing to do.)
And although the money from the Pence PAC has been going to congressional elections so far, Mike Pence can legally use the funds to cover his travel and campaign costs as well. If things do sour between Trump and his Number Two (or if Donald, God forbid, decides not to run again in 2020), having a source of cash to fall back on cannot possibly hurt Mike Pence’s chances of coming out on top.
Recent reports have also spoken of Donald Trump’s attempts to shut down Mike Pence’s efforts to increase his own political visibility. Trump has allegedly stepped over Pence to grab the spotlight numerous times recently; including at the NRA convention and at the World Economic Forum in Davos. In addition, the Susan B. Anthony List just announced that Trump will be the keynote speaker at their gala this year. Pence gave the address last year.
This is probably just an example of a nonprofit moving on to host the big fish after hosting the little fish the year prior. But the Susan B. Anthony List is a pro-life group. Pro-life is Mike Pence’s big thing, and something Donald Trump has been relatively ambiguous on.
Trump taking the keynote address may not be stepping on Mike Pence’s toes, per-se. But it’s certainly an interesting shift in the President’s ideological priorities. Given the general White House climate of chaos, and Trump’s tendency to quickly burn through his alliances, it makes sense for Pence to be raising revenue for his own use.
But for now, the Great America Committee’s leader, Marty Obst, has said the money Pence’s PAC is bringing in will be used to boost the joint Trump-Pence ticket in 2020. Picking Corey Lewandowski to join the effort could be a sign that Pence is more ambitious than expected.
Or it could simply be down to the fact that Lewandowski is an excellent fund-raiser. Corey made millions for the Trump campaign in previous years.
Lewandowski has traveled with Pence in the last few days, and apparently they’ve been discussing this job while on the road. Now Lewandowski will be leaving his current organization, America First Policies, and joining with Pence’s PAC.
Because America First Policies was a non-profit organization, Lewandowski was legally limited in the actions he could take to help the Trump team. But as a part of Mike Pence’s political action committee, these restrictions won’t apply. Corey can fund-raise and campaign directly for Trump and Pence with no legal ramifications.
Trump had played with the possibility of making Corey his new chief of staff when John Kelly finally hits his expiration date. But this job-change makes that option even less likely than it was before. It also makes it borderline unnecessary; Lewandowski is a campaigner at heart and that’s where his combative rhetorical style will be most effective. (Plus, Jared and Ivanka still allegedly hate Corey, so a White House position might be less than ideal for him.)
America First has also recently lost Brad Parscale and Katrina Pierson to the Trump campaign. So Corey moving to work for Mike Pence makes sense.
Lewandowksi famously pioneered the “Let Trump Be Trump” tactic, which ultimately won The Donald his election. It’ll be interesting to see if he espouses a similar “Let Pence Be Pence” philosophy now that he’s on Mike’s payroll.