The two authors of Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency spoke with Big League Politics Tuesday about the book and their take on the presidency of the man they helped put in the White House: Donald J. Trump.
“Let Trump Be Trump starts all the way at the beginning and takes you all the way through Election Day by the two guys, who were there for the whole time,” said Corey R. Lewandowski, the president’s one-time campaign manager and current confidant and his co-author David N. Bossie, the president of Citizens United, and who served as Trump’s deputy campaign manager and the deputy executive director of president’s transition team.
Lewandowski said the book also gives the reader insight how Trump recognized the real concerns facing real Americans and then reaching to them about that reality, when the other 16 GOP candidates for the presidential nomination did not seem to understand the mood of the electorate.
“It was his ability–Donald Trump’s ability–to speak with force about what he saw,” he said. “It was about his ability to tap into the pulse of the American people.”
Bossie, now a Fox News contributor, said there was no one moment when the people on the inside of the campaign thought the nomination or the election was won, because they were so focused on winning.
“We worked so hard, but no one worked harder than Donald Trump,” he said.
Bossie said the campaign’s internal polling never showed Trump with anything more than a slight lead and most of the time, the polls showed him close, but behind. “We knew we were closer than the TV polls.”
However, the team never was discouraged, he said.
“When we were in that zone, our biggest number or indicator was the rallies,” he said.
“When you are putting 10,000, 12,000, 18,000 people in an arena or an airport hangar–and it was cold in some of these places in late October and early November in places like Michigan, Wisconsin and Colorado,” he said. “We knew we had something going on.”
Bossie said the comparison to the campaign rallies for former first lady Hillary R. Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent, was stark.
“It was not even close,” he said. “Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, could barely fill a high school cafeteria–and it was not just in one city or state.” Across the country, Clinton had trouble drawing crowds as Trump was turning people away or setting up overflow rooms.
“We were doing three or four or five rallies a day–in the last week? five or six a day,” he said. “We reached out and we could feel the electricity in these rallies.”
Lewandowski said they did not they had a very good chance at the nomination as more and more of their opponents fell by the wayside. “Never-ever-ever did we take it for granted–we didn’t stop until we had the 1237 delegates for him to be the nominee.”
Another function of the book is to describe Trump as the man he really is, not the cartoon character depicted by the mainstream media, Lewandowski said.
Trump is always a gentleman and he always looking out for other people, he said. “He is so magnanimous.”
This magnanimity was the reason why Trump did not break out in open warfare against Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) , who he now works with as president, said Lewandowski, who now works clients as the president and CEO of Lewandowski Strategic Advisors. The native of Lowell, Massachusetts is also a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
“Now, he is working with Paul Ryan to move his agenda through Congress,” he said. “You have to work with people to get things done, that’s what Donald Trump has done his entire career, when he has achieved things no one thought he could.”
Both men told Big League Politics that they were offered jobs in the administration that they considered taking, but they both said they were more comfortable advocating for Trump and his agenda through their private organizations and private efforts.
“We talk about it in the last chapter of the book,” Bossie said.
“We can provide greater assistance to the president being on the outside–it is incredibly difficult to have major impact from the insid,” he said. “I look back and I am very happy with the decision.”
Bossie said that going forward, the Democrats are still in trouble because they have not solved the problems that plagued them in the 2016 cycle.
Democrats have not settled on a positive agenda, he said.
Going into 2018, Bossie said he said he thinks that Trump has finally found his stride after nine or 10 months in office.
Trump was sent to Washington to change the status quo, and I think he realizes it has not been going well, he said. “He is frustrated and rightly so with Congress.”
Neither Lewandowski nor Bossie seemed overly concerned about the president achieving the goals of his campaign through the actions of his administration. Having watched Trump up close, they have a no-sweat confidence in the president’s ability to win.
Listen how they talk about Trump’s performance at the third Trump v. Clinton presidential debate held Oct. 20, 2016 in Las Vegas, hosted by Fox News presenter Chris Wallace.
There has never been a Republican nominee for president, who gave voice to defending gun rights and the unborn, like Trump did in that debate.
Asked about abortion, Trump said:
Well I think it is terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month you can take baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that is okay and Hillary can say that that is okay, but it’s not okay with me. Because based on what she is saying and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take baby and rip the baby out of the womb. In the ninth month. On the final day and that’s not acceptable.
When Wallace and Clinton tried to embarrass Trump on his support of gun rights he said:
I am a very strong supporter of the second amendment. And I don’t know if Hillary was saying it in a sarcastic manner but I’m very proud to have the endorsement of the NRA and it was the earliest endorsement they’ve ever given to anybody who ran for president. So I’m very honored by all of that. We are going to appoint justices, this is the best way to help the second amendment. We are going to appoint justices that will feel very strongly about the second amendment. That will not do damage to the second amendment.
Bossie said it was a conscious decision to for Trump to come out strong–and the decision was all Trump’s.
“He took it right to her,” he said.
“You got to remember, the president has become a student of politics, now, and he paid very close attention to how Mitt Romney went out and lost that last debate,” he said.
“We recognized that all the debates were Trump’s to win or lose.
“Trust me, nobody in the debate prep team on on the campaign got him ready mentally,” he said. “It was 100 percent Donald Trump.”
Lewandowski said he watched the third debate and saw the man, he had long admired.
“What I have learned that Donald Trump is a closer,” he said. “He is a big-game player–when the game is on the line, you want him on your team with the ball in his hand and that is what he brought.”