A former aide of Donald Trump says the former president did actually pay actors to appear in his 2016 presidential campaign announcement.
Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, previously denied that people were paid to be featured as supporters in Trump’s 2016 campaign launch. But now, he’s reportedly walking back his statements, claiming Trump did, in fact, hire performers, according to Insider.
“That’s a Michael Cohen special,” Lewandowski told Insider. “Michael Cohen decided that he was going to go hire one of his buddies and pay his buddy without getting any campaign approval. You know, $50 for every person to come in, to stand in Trump Tower.”
“Any allegation of payments to actors is an absolute lie that was promoted by Corey Lewandowski,” Michael Cohen told the outlet in response.
In 2015, in comments made to the same website, Lewandowski “unequivocally” denied that people were paid to attend the event.
“You know Donald Trump. There is nobody who believes that when Donald Trump goes somewhere he does not generate the biggest, largest, and most rambunctious crowds on the planet,” Lewandowski said in 2015. “It’s just not true, unequivocally. The Donald Trump campaign and Donald Trump did not pay anybody to attend his announcement.”
Trump launched his presidential campaign before a huge audience back on June 16, 2015, at his Trump skyscraper in New York City. At the time, many were skeptical of just how many people were actually fans and supporters of the shamed former U.S. leader.
“I remember thinking, ‘Man, I’m surprised he couldn’t even get people there. That seems insane,’” said Sarah Isgur, the deputy campaign manager for 2016 presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.
On top of inside sources saying Trump hired staged actors, The Hollywood Reporter released a report at the time saying Trump’s campaign allegedly paid people $50 to attend the launch. “It seemed strange,” Amanda Carpenter, former communications director for 2016 candidate Ted Cruz. “I was watching the coverage of ‘Oh, did they pay people to show up? Who were these people?’”