The Internet is buzzing this morning over a blog post from a woman claiming to be a former strategist for presidential candidate Donald Trump and who now says Trump never had any intention of becoming president.
In a post published Monday on the blog xojane.com, former Coloradan and GOP operative Stephanie Cegielski talked about her time as a communications professional with a pro-Trump PAC.
A photo accompanying the post shows a smiling Cegielski tearing up a yard sign that says “The Silent Majority stands with Trump.”
If you’ve been around Colorado politics for the past couple of years, Cegielski’s name should ring a bell.
In 2010, Cegielski worked for then-Secretary of State Bernie Buescher as a member of his public affairs staff. She left his office and then started an organization, the Colorado Governmental Accountability Project. It was intended as a GOP counter to what Cegielski viewed as groups that only hit Republicans, citing Colorado Ethics Watch as an example.
Cegielski was tied to a 2010 campaign finance complaint lodged against Buescher and filed with the Attorney General that alleged Buescher was frequently out of the office and not attending to business, or working on campaign activities during working hours. The source for that information: Buescher’s online Google calendar.
Cegielski did not file the complaint, but in an article this reporter wrote in 2010 for The Colorado Statesman, she pointed out that the Project had been looking at gaps in Buescher’s schedule. The complaintant, a GOP operative in Adams County, learned about the gaps from a news release issued by Cegielski and conversations with Cegielski’s attorney.
The complaint was dismissed.
Cegielski also went after then-Senate President John Morse, claiming he was collecting per diem funds for work as Senate President when he was doing something else. Her evidence: Morse’s online Google calendar. A bipartisan ethics panel of five lawmakers convened to review the complaint and ruled unanimously it had no merit.
The Project folded shortly after and Cegielski headed to the Big Apple, to become vice president of public relations for the Public Relations Society of America.
Last year, she joined Team Trump as the communications chief for the Make America Great Again SuperPAC, according to her blog post.
Recruited for her public relations and public policy expertise, “I sat in Trump Tower being told that the goal was to get The Donald to poll in double digits and come in second in delegate count. That was it,” Cegielski wrote.
“Trump made me believe. Until I woke up.”
Cegielski said she now regrets helping “create the monster,” stating that Trump was never prepared to go all the way to the White House or even to be the candidate.
“[B]ut his ego has now taken over the driver’s seat, and nothing else matters…I’ll say it again: Trump never intended to be the candidate. But his pride is too out of control to stop him now.”
The PAC, according to the post, was dissolved last October. Cegielski now runs her own communications company, and according to her LinkedIn profile teaches reputation management at New York University.
The Trump campaign responded with a statement this morning to the New York Daily News, saying “She knows nothing about Mr. Trump or the campaign and her disingenuous and factually inaccurate statements in no way resemble any shred of truth. This is yet another desperate person looking for their fifteen minutes.”
Photo courtesy of XOJane