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SELMA — President Donald Trump’s 2016 national campaign chairman said the commander-in-chief’s resolve is amazing.
“When Mr. Trump enters the Oval Office every morning, his first question is, ‘Who are we fighting today?’” said Corey Lewandowski. “We’re going through the fake impeachment hearings now and have gone through the fake Russian collusion investigation.”
Lewandowski, a senior adviser for Trump’s 2020 campaign, spoke to 150 Republican loyalists at Selma’s The Farm at 42 on Nov. 19.
He is the co-author of “Let Trump Be Trump,” a memoir written with David Bossie about their work for Trump’s successful 2016 campaign.
Lewandowski recalled a phone call he received last Thanksgiving while celebrating with his family.
“My 8-year-old son called out, ‘Dad, it’s the president calling,” said Lewandowski. “He called to wish my family a happy Thanksgiving and then asked to speak with my children on speakerphone. I gathered our children around and Mr. Trump said, ‘I’m president of the United States because of your Dad.’ I will do everything I can to help this president.”
Lewandowski said the Democratic Party is more motivated than ever to get rid of Trump.
“The Democrats are energized,” said Lewandowski. “If we don’t win in North Carolina and Florida, their candidate wins.”
Lewandowski said the “crooked news media” has been on attack against Trump ever since 2016. The campaign chairman recounted an election night appearance on CNN.
“The exit polls, with their fake news, and the poll numbers started coming out saying Trump couldn’t win,” he said. “Then we won Florida and North Carolina and the momentum began to build. When we captured 270 electoral votes, CNN still wouldn’t call the election. It wasn’t until 2 a.m. when AP called the election that they acknowledged it was over and declared Donald Trump the president-elect of the United States.”
He challenged supporters to do all they can, for the sake of their children and grandchildren, to re-elect Trump.
“This is a race of capitalism versus socialism,” said Lewandowski. “If Donald Trump loses, socialism wins.”
One of Trump’s great strengths, said Lewandowski, is that he speaks American common sense.
“The bureaucrats are so offended Trump won’t say what they want him to say,” said Lewandowski. “They said the president was guilty of collusion and he wasn’t.”
During a question-and-answer session after Lewandowski’s remarks, someone asked what campaign advice he had for North Carolina GOP candidates.
“The president is a master brander of his opposition,” said Lewandowski. “He defines them before they define him. His use of social media has redefined campaigning. Define your opponent and stay on the offense.”
Lewandowski said that’s Trump’s 2020 strategy and that the president’s team plans to campaign in states Trump lost in 2016.
Harold Delaney, an African American attendee, asked Lewandowski asked about Trump’s strategy to reach black voters.
“The president wants change in the criminal justice system,” said Lewandowski. “He also is providing economic security and has forced Congress to pass tax breaks that help all Americans, including the black community. Trump also wants immigration reform because illegals are taking black jobs. It’s like what Trump said to black voters in 2016, ‘What have you got to lose by voting for me?’”
Lewandowski said Trump received 8% of the black vote in 2016, compared to 6% who supported Mitt Romney in 2012. He said the Trump campaign has launched its “Black Voices for Trump” campaign initiative.
“We have a message that doesn’t pander or take advantage of the black community,” said Lewandowski. “The first step is African American empowerment, putting them in places where Democrats never have.”
Lewandowski recalled when Mike Pence was selected as Trump’s running mate.
“I was chairman of the vice presidential selection committee,” he said. “I contacted someone who knew Pence and was told he needed to discuss it with his family and ‘talk to God’ first. Pence took the weekend and then about 45 minutes before I had to meet with Trump and give him my recommendation, a Pence spokesperson called and said he’d like to be considered. So I wrote in Mike Pence’s name on my selection list.”
Lewandowski said that with Trump and Pence, America has leaders who are totally in sync.
“Mike Pence was the best addition to the Trump administration,” Lewandowski said. “He’s a great sounding board.”
Lewandowski recalled his first visit to the Oval Office and something regarding Pence he didn’t anticipate.
“I looked in the entrance to the Oval Office and saw the president sitting behind desk and Pence sitting in front. Mr. Trump saw me and said, ‘Corey, come on in.’”
Lewandowski said Trump asked Pence three times if he knew him.
“The first time, Pence said, ‘That’s Corey,’” Lewandowski recalled. The second time, Pence said, ‘Corey Lewandowski.’ Then, after asking Pence a third time, Trump said, “He’s the reason you’re vice president.’’
Lewandowski said he and the vice president prayed together.
“‘I’m giving my first speech tonight as vice president and I’d like for you to pray with me,’” Lewandowski said Pence told him. “We prayed together in the Oval Office. Mike Pence is a genuine man of faith.”
Republican officeholders in attendance included state Rep. Donna White, Johnston County Board of Commissioners Chairman Ted Godwin, Sheriff Steve Bizzell, Register of Deeds Craig Olive, District Court Judge Paul Holcombe and Princeton Commissioner Susan Watson.
State candidates at the rally and the offices they’re seeking included N.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby, chief justice; Mike LaPaglia, secretary of state; and Anthony Street, state auditor. Hal Weatherman, Dan Forest’s gubernatorial campaign manager, was also in attendance.