Governor Kristi Noem has made no comment yet about whether she witnessed her campaign coach Corey Lewandowski’s sexual harassment of a wealthy Republican donor at a charity she and Lewandowski attended in Las Vegas Sunday night. Nor has Noem issued any statement condemning Lewandowski’s seemingly chronic mistreatment of women or assuring the public that Lewandwoski will no longer be involved with her own campaign.
Lewandowski’s roles advising Trump included overseeing the principal pro-Trump super PAC, Make America Great Again Action. But Taylor Budowich, a Trump spokesperson, announced on Twitter that Lewandowski was being removed from that job.
“Corey Lewandowski will be going on to other endeavors and we very much want to thank him for his service. He will no longer be associated with Trump World,” Budowich wrote [Alex Isenstadt, “Lewandowski Cast Out of Trump Operation After Allegation of Unwanted Sexual Advances,” Politico, 2021.09.29].
There is a Politico story today alleging that Corey Lewandowski sexually harassed a GOP donor. Lewandowski appeared with Timken at an event last month in the Cincinnati area. Timken said she was not familiar with the story, and her staff says he has no role with the campaign [Andrew Tobias, tweet, 2021.09.29].
Former Noem staffer and attack dog Maggie Seidel says it’s “outrageous” that Noem “continues to affiliate herself with Corey Lewandowski” and says Noem’s failure to separate herself from Lewandowski after this latest instance of sexual harassment would signal that Noem has real problems:
Lewandowski, who Seidel deems a “bum,” has been in Noem’s orbit since she became the state’s first female governor, but the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump ingratiated himself in her inner circle around the time of her Mount Rushmore speech with the former president on July 3 of last year. With Lewandowski’s help, Noem quickly became a rising star in the GOP, considered not just a top contender for 2024, but also briefly rumored to replace Vice President Mike Pence on Trump’s 2020 ticket. The telegenic Noem has also become a consistent presence on cable news since the start of the pandemic.
Although, as Seidel put it, Lewandowski “gave her access” to the resources and riches of Trumpworld, he clashed with her staff. Prior to the 2020 election, the New York Times reported that Noem’s second chief-of-staff, Joshua Shields, quit “in part because of the increased role” of Lewandowski.
…”He’s horrible,” Seidel said of Lewandowski. “She’s not stupid. She knows that. He gave her access — I’m assuming that’s why he kept her around. But if this doesn’t sever the relationship, God, does she have bigger problems” [Tiana Lowe, “Former Top Noem Staffer: Lewandowski ‘Horrible’ and ‘A Bum’, But No Way Did Governor Cheat on Husband,” Washington Examiner, 2021.09.29].
Seidel makes clear that Lewandowski created friction and cost Noem staff in Pierre. If Noem keeps hanging around Lewandowski after his sexual harassment of a rich GOP donor, that staining association may damage her value as a coast-to-coast campaigner.
Update 11:41 CDT: Angela Kennecke gets Noem spokesboy Ian Fury to say this morning that Lewandowski “will not be advising the Governor in regard to the campaign or official office.”