But Gowdy, the chairman of the House Benghazi Committee, wasn’t always on the outs with the mogul and his team. In fact, just a few months ago Trump and his spokeswoman Katrina Pierson were fawning over Gowdy and his leadership abilities.
Rubio endorsement aside, Gowdy is an odd target for Trump—he’s adored by the right for his finger-waving interrogations of Obama administration officials, including Hillary Clinton. But what might make things more awkward in Trump World is that his top spokesperson used to be one of Gowdy’s most vocal—and, allegedly, opportunistic—boosters.
Before signing on with Trump as national spokeswoman, Pierson was the face of the Tea Party Leadership Fund—a widely derided, so-called scam PAC—that existed largely to cull donations from naive old people by sending out frantic emails about the impact their $25 emergency donation could have on the wellbeing of the Constitution. The Leadership Fund also rents their email list to companies that sell survival food (sample subject line: “FEMA Hates This”). Pierson didn’t respond to a request for comment.
On Oct. 6 Pierson blasted out an email to the group’s list saying that if only a few good patriots could cough up the cash, Trey Gowdy might be persuaded to run for Speaker.
“Congressmen Gowdy is well known for standing strong on principle, despite the mainstream media or public opinion—these qualities will make him an excellent Speaker of the House and would return the House GOP to a strong position,” Pierson wrote.
“Gowdy hasn’t back down to the political elites on Benghazi. AND I’m willing to say he wouldn’t have compromised and capitulated to Barack Obama like John Boehner did to the last,” she added, urging email recipients to sign a Draft Gowdy petition.
“Once you’ve signed, donate $25 or more and make sure we get this petition in front of another 10,000 Americans,” Pierson wrote.
Gowdy, by the way, was never going to be Speaker. He reiterated and reiterated that he has zero interest in that leadership role and publicly backed now-Speaker Paul Ryan, despite the cartoon hearts shooting out of Tea Partiers’ eyeballs (and cartoon dollar signs shooting out of eyeballs at the Tea Party Leadership Fund). It wasn’t going to happen. Nobody serious thought it was going to happen. But that didn’t stop Pierson’s group from hitting up activists for cash.
Pierson blasted out another Gowdy-for-speaker Valentine on Oct. 26, drawing criticism from the conservative site RedState.
“The worst part is what they’re doing is perfectly legal. Which makes it all that much more cowardly,” wrote blogger Jay Caruso, dubbing the group “bogus.”
But now that Gowdy is no longer useful for raising emergency contributions of $25, Team Trump is talking about him in extraordinarily different terms; in fact, the mogul himself made a quick pivot as soon as word got out about the endorsement—even calling him a “Benghazi loser.”
Trump, as you might imagine, has long been keenly interested in the 2012 attack on the Benghazi consulate. He appeared on Fox and Friends a few weeks after the attack to discuss whether he would have fired someone over “Benghazi-gate.” So when then-Speaker John Boehner put in place a special congressional committee to investigate the attack and made Gowdy its chair, Trump tweeted his delight.
And after Gowdy questioned Clinton at the committee’s first public hearing, Trump called him “a terrific guy,” according to Politico.
But after news of the congressman’s impending Rubio endorsement leaked, Trump manually retweeted a tweet calling the congressman a “Benghazi loser.”
“Face it, Trey Gowdy failed miserably on Benghazi,” reads another Trump tweet. “He allowed it to drag out and in the end, let Hillary get away with murder.”
No word yet if you can help stop her from getting away with homicide if you sign a petition and chip in just $25, $35, or $45.