ABC News(NEW YORK) — Donald Trump is no stranger to the spotlight, but the relatively small group of aides who run his presidential campaign is not nearly as visible.
This may change. Lately, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, has stepped out of the shadows.
The 40-year-old father of four known for his anti-establishment enthusiasm has had a colorful career. A Massachusetts native and current New Hampshire resident, he ran, and lost, for a state representative position while still a student at UMass, Lowell, according to the Lowell Sun.
He briefly worked for the Republican National Committee, and most notably, spent almost seven years at the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity. He was also the executive director of the New England Seafood Producers Association and the director of public affairs at a PR firm. Lewandowski is a New Hampshire Police Academy graduate, guest lecturer, licensed real estate agent and notary.
Notably, he also once had an entire debate with a cardboard cutout of former Democratic New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, according to Politico.
Lewandowski has stayed mostly behind the scenes but recently made an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” which drew attention after he asserted that 400,000 “anchor baby” births take place in the U.S. each year. (The non-partisan website, Politifact, posted a story saying the number is roughly 100,000 fewer).
During a June 19 interview on the “John Fredericks Show,” a conservative Virginia radio program, Lewandowski said he was, “sold instantly,” after being offered a job by Trump.
And he told the Washington Post that he has “the greatest job in politics.”
“I have the privilege of working for a candidate who is exceptionally well known, has had unparalleled success in everything that he has attempted to accomplish, from the business deals to the television field, to being a best-selling author,” he said in a July 23 interview.
The Trump campaign declined to make Lewandowski available for an interview for this piece.
Long before he worked for Trump, Lewandowski cut his teeth managing the 2002 Senate re-election campaign of New Hampshire Republican Bob Smith.
Smith lost the race, and in an interview with ABC News, said the 2002 effort has a “striking similarity” to Trump’s bid. Both races, he said, featured candidates taking on the GOP establishment.
Thomas Rath, a longtime New Hampshire Republican political operative and the state’s former attorney general, said Lewandowski is known as someone who doesn’t “have an issue making himself visible.”
“He was out front as a spokesperson for Americans for Prosperity,” Rath said in an interview, “and, I think he’s quite comfortable behind the podium, as opposed to behind the curtain.”
Former New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen said he thinks Lewandowski is drawn to a “burn the boats, blow up the bridges campaign.”
During Lewandowski’s recent CNN appearance, he was neither boisterous, nor strident, as Trump often is. He did, however, stay on message, echoing his boss’s plan to “build a wall” at the southern border with Mexico and referring to rival GOP presidential candidate, Jeb Bush, as “low energy.”
Trump recently told the Lowell Sun, a local Massachusetts newspaper, that he found Trump “refreshing,” and his style, “liberating.”
His old boss, former Sen. Smith, said he remembers warning Lewandowski about getting involved with an anti-establishment campaign.
“When I hired Corey, I told him, ‘you’re going to get involved in a campaign where the establishment of the Republican Party is opposed to my candidacy. Do you have a problem with that?’ And he said, ‘absolutely not, I wear it as a badge of honor.’”
And while Cullen questioned the wisdom of Lewandowski’s decision to take a job with Trump (“It’s good while it lasts, but if you work for Trump, I hope you have a professional pre-nup”), Rath disagreed.
“Right now, working for Trump is brilliant,” he said. “Obviously he is giving himself — and he’s earned it — an elevated profile, and he’ll probably have lots of opportunities — win or lose — coming out of this.”
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