Politics

Lewandowski, Bossie Eye 2020 Win for Trump

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Two of the architects of Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign expressed confidence Tuesday that the real estate developer and reality show star would repeat that performance and secure a second term in the 2020 election.

Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, co-authors of “Let Trump Be Trump” and “Trump’s Enemies,” were the featured speakers at an Ohio Republican Party fundraiser held at the Youngstown Country Club. Lewandowski served as chief political adviser and campaign manager for the Trump campaign, and Bossie signed on as deputy campaign manager following Paul Manafort’s firing by the campaign.

The luncheon event itself was closed to the news media, but Lewandowski and Bossie made themselves available to reporters for interviews following the event. The luncheon provided them an opportunity to talk about the Trump administration’s successes “and remind the Republican voters exactly what’s at stake going into next year’s presidential election,” Lewandowski said.

“We wanted to share with the folks here in Ohio exactly what Ohio meant to this president in 2016 and what it means to him today, and how important Ohio is to him and his presidency,” said Bossie, president of the PAC Citizens United.

Lewandowski said his role during the campaign was to guide Trump — who had never held elected office — through the political process, and not to change a 70-year-old who had achieved “remarkable amounts of financial and professional success,” he said, although Trump’s instincts were so good that he didn’t need to do much in that regard.

The political operatives also discussed the “economic successes” that Trump has made “the focal point of his presidency,” Bossie said.

These include renegotiation of trade deals, rebuilding the U.S. military, improved gross domestic product figures as well as overall lower unemployment and lower unemployment rates for blacks, Hispanics and women.

“People are seeing that they’re better off today than they were two years ago, and I think that’s the message that the president needs to drive home in his re-election campaign next year,” he said.

Trump’s 2016 victory in Ohio was assisted by stronger-than-usual support for the GOP candidate in the traditionally Democratic Mahoning Valley. Trump bested former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Trumbull County and narrowly lost Mahoning County to her.

“The people of Ohio whose jobs have been decimated by bad policies saw an opportunity with candidate Trump to bring those jobs back,” Lewandowski said. “When Donald Trump came here, he articulated what his vision was and now he’s fulfilling that vision while he’s the president.”

Lewandowski and Bossie attested to Trump’s support within the party heading into next year’s election and denied that he had been damaged by the partial federal government shutdown that lasted more than a month, triggered by his unmet demand for $5.7 billion in funding for a wall along the southern U.S. border.

“What he was fighting for during the shutdown is literally the sovereignty of our country and the well-being of our American citizens,” Lewandowski said. “He reminded them of the crisis we have on the southern border and we need to fix it.”

Next year, voters won’t be casting their ballots based on “the closing of a small amount of the government that they didn’t know was closed two years earlier,” but instead will be focused on “what is best for them and their families,” Bossie said. Trump is putting together “an incredible” campaign structure working with the Republican National Committee and with state leaders, such as Jane Timken, Ohio Republican Party chairwoman, “who have decided to work every minute of every day to make sure that we are ready for the November 2020 elections,” he said.

The campaign officials back Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to give him access to unspent federal funds to pay for the proposed border wall.

“We’ve seen too many American lives lost from people who have had the opportunity to come in and out of this country, coming into the country illegally, and being deported only to come back in to commit additional crimes,” Lewandowski said.

“I support this president in getting the job done,” Bossie added. Trump attempted to work with Congress, but Democratic leaders “who hate this president more than they love this country” refused to negotiate.

“All they want to do is win power,” he said. “They don’t want to help the American people, they don’t want to make it a better, more prosperous country. They do it all for power and for power’s sake.”

In the U.S. House of Representatives, where Democrats gained the majority in the 2018 elections, “The inmates have taken over the asylum,” Bossie said. The left wants to “destroy the economy that this president has taken two years to rebuild from eight years of Barack Obama’s failed policies,” he continued. In 2020, voters will see a president running for re-election based on foreign policy and economic accomplishments “versus a nominee who is going to potentially have to fight for the far left of their party.”

They dismissed a recent story by Politico that claimed GOP contributors leaving a two-day retreat in Washington were concerned that Trump lacked a strategy for winning re-election. In particular, contributors reportedly are worried about how the president intended to win in Rust Belt states he won in 2016, but where Democrats made gains last year, the article reported, as well as whether the campaign’s fundraising is up to the task and the president’s tendency to “trample on any message or strategy.”

“That’s a narrative that the media wants to continue with. They’ll find anybody to say anything at any time,” Bossie said. “That’s why the fake news gets called out for what it is. Look, anybody who’s involved in and around the president in this campaign already knows how much hard work they are putting into it.”

The growing Democratic field is “big” but “weak,” and Trump is ready to take on all comers, he added.

“When the president is on the ballot, people turn out,” Lewandowski said. What the RNC has done is provide resources to the people making the decisions in Ohio, like Timken, to make sure Republicans are ready for the 2020 election.

“Ohio is always a battleground,” Bossie said.

Republicans swept the five Ohio statewide races in 2018 and retained the state’s congressional delegation, Timken noted. She also highlighted the recent gains the GOP made in the Valley, with the party claiming both a state senate seat and an Ohio House of Representatives seat traditionally held by Democrats last year.

“That shows a trend that is changing in Ohio,” Timken said. “The work that we put in in 2018 will continue and pay off in 2020.”

Mark Munroe, who recently stepped down as chairman of the Mahoning County Republican Party, said it was refreshing to hear the insights about what is happening in Washington “and the kind of very generous and patriotic man that the president is,” as opposed to the “raw deal” he seems to get not only from Democrats but some Republicans, the mainstream media and “the deep state” in the nation’s Capitol.

“That’s discouraging, but Corey and David both confirmed that the president is determined as ever to see his mandate completed,” he said.

Tom McCabe, Munroe’s successor as Mahoning County GOP chairman, questioned the Politico report, noting that many donors in the 2016 primary wrote off Trump early, and many establishment Republicans said he would lose in the general election.

“The president’s going to be ready. We have almost two years until the actual general election and he’s going to be ready,” McCabe said.

McCabe also pointed to the Democrats’ lurch toward the left as a liability for the party. If he were Trump, he said, the potential candidate he would probably fear the most is a Midwestern candidate like U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, who won re-election last year in Ohio despite the GOP’s sweep of the statewide offices. Brown is visiting early primary states as he considers a potential 2020 run.

“People like Sherrod Brown. He would be a real tough opponent, but I don’t know if he can get elected in a Democratic primary,” he said.

Although Timken acknowledged the argument for a potential Brown candidacy, she dismissed the senator, and said the party’s job would be to point out his deficiencies, including the lack of any legislation he has sponsored “that has actually done things for working-class Americans in Ohio.”

Pictured: David Bossie, president of Citizens United, Jane Timken, chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party, and Corey Lewandowski, former chief political adviser and campaign manager for the Trump campaign.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.