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Big Macs and screaming fits: Windham's Lewandowski co-releasing book on Trump's campaign

By MICHAEL KRANISH
The Washington Post

December 03. 2017 1:38AM
Corey Lewandowski, left, stands next to then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a news conference in March 2016 in Palm Beach, Fla. Lewandowski of Windham has a book about the campaign coming out Tuesday. (REUTERS)



Elton John blares so loudly on Donald Trump's campaign plane that staffers can't hear themselves think. Press secretary Hope Hicks uses a steamer to press Trump's pants - while he is still wearing them. Trump screams at his top aides, who are subjected to expletive-filled tirades in which they get their "face ripped off."

And Trump's appetite seems to know no bounds when it comes to McDonald's, with a dinner order consisting of "two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted."

The scenes are among the most surreal passages in a forthcoming book chronicling Trump's path to the presidency co-written by Corey Lewandowski of Windham, who was fired as Trump's campaign manager, and David Bossie, another top aide. The book, "Let Trump Be Trump," paints a portrait of a campaign with an untested candidate and staff rocketing from crisis to crisis, in which Lewandowski and a cast of mostly neophyte political aides learn on the fly and ultimately accept Trump's propensity to go angrily off message.

"Sooner or later, everybody who works for Donald Trump will see a side of him that makes you wonder why you took a job with him in the first place," the authors wrote. "His wrath is never intended as any personal offense, but sometimes it can be hard not to take it that way. The mode that he switches into when things aren't going his way can feel like an all-out assault; it'd break most hardened men and women into little pieces."

The authors "both had moments where they wanted to parachute off Trump Force One," but they said they got used to it.

Lewandowski provides a largely admiring portrait of his former boss, saving the skewer for score-settling anecdotes about Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman and rival whom Lewandowski blames for his ouster. The Post obtained an advance copy of the book, which is scheduled for release Tuesday.

Lewandowski, a veteran Republican operative, managed Trump's campaign, including his lopsided victory in the first-in-the-nation primary until Trump all but locked up the nomination in June 2016.

In a section of the book written by Lewandowski, Trump is described as flying on his helicopter when he learns that Manafort has said "Trump shouldn't be on television anymore, that he shouldn't be on the Sunday shows" and that Manafort should appear instead. Trump was angrier than Lewandowski had ever seen him, ordering the pilot to lower the altitude so he could make a cellphone call.

"Did you say I shouldn't be on TV on Sunday? I'll go on TV anytime I g-dam f--ing want and you won't say another f--ing word about me!" Trump yelled at Manafort, according to Lewandowski. "Tone it down? I wanna turn it up! . . . You're a political pro? Let me tell you something. I'm a pro at life. I've been around a time or two. I know guys like you, with your hair and skin . . ."

Lewandowski called it "one of the greatest takedowns in the history of the world."

The aide's satisfaction at the takedown didn't last long, however, as he "immediately got a phone call" from Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, "telling me I wasn't a team player and that I'd thrown Paul under the bus." Lewandowski wrote that Manafort soon arranged for him to be fired.

But Manafort's days were numbered as well, especially after Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon became an adviser to the campaign and set his sights on ousting the campaign chairman.

In one of the most striking passages of the book, the co-authors describe a scene in which Bannon is read the first few paragraphs of a forthcoming story by a New York Times reporter laying out allegations that Manafort had received a $12.7 million payment from a Ukrainian political party. The encounter occurred at Manafort's apartment in Trump Tower, where, the co-authors write, an unnamed woman in a white muumuu "lounged" on the couch.

"Does Trump know about this?" Bannon asked, according to the book.

"What's to know, it's all lies," Manafort replied.

The woman on the couch "imploringly" asked, "Paul?" Manafort responded, according to the book, "It was a long time ago. I had expenses."

The authors write that "Bannon knew what he had in his hand. It was an explosive, page one story."

Notwithstanding his constant praise of Trump, Lewandowski offers a window into the president's toughness on those who work nonstop on his behalf. Lewandowski wrote of a time when he was so ill that he fell asleep on a plane, only to be awakened by Trump, saying, "Corey, if you can't take it, we'll get somebody else." He described a meeting in which Trump told another campaign official, Brad Parscale, that "You don't have to listen to Corey anymore. He's no longer your boss."

Lewandowski wrote that "the cut was deep, but it was only one of a thousand."

Trump left it to his son Don Jr. to fire him, Lewandowski wrote.

In another episode, Lewandowski describes how staffer Sam Nunberg was purposely left behind at a McDonald's because Nunberg's special-order burger was taking too long. "Leave him," Trump said. "Let's go." And they did.


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