Singer and longtime Trump supporter Joy Villa, has accused President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski of inappropriate sexual behavior, alleging he slapped her butt multiple times at a recent holiday party.
Villa, who made headlines for attending the 2017 Grammy Music Awards in a “Make America Great Again”-themed gown, told Politico she was introduced to Lewandowski for the first time in November at a party celebrating Trump’s first year in office, where the two posed for a photograph.
“I’m wearing this silver suit and stretchy pants, and after the photo, he smacks my ass really hard,” Villa recounted. “It was completely demeaning and shocking.”
Villa’s friend, who witnessed the exchange, has corroborated the story, Politico reported.
The 31-year-old singer said she confronted Lewandowski about the incident, half jokingly telling him to “watch it,” and that she could report him for sexual harassment. Lewandowski responded, “Go ahead, I work in the private sector,” according to Villa, and slapped her butt again. “Corey laughed in my face and ran away,” she said. “It felt like it was all a big joke to him. ... It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever experienced.”
Lewandowski did not respond to Politico’s request for comment. Vox has reached out to the White House for comment.
This is not the first time Lewandowski has been accused of assault. During the campaign, he was charged with battery for grabbing former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. The case was eventually dropped, and Lewandowski maintained the support of Trump and his campaign team throughout.
Villa has told reporters she is considering a congressional bid in either New York, Florida or California, and Trump himself has publicly supported it. Her allegations come at a national flashpoint for awareness of sexual harassment and assault. Lewandowski joins a list of more than 100 high-profile allegations against powerful people in media, entertainment and politics in recent months — a list that includes Trump, who has been accused of more than a dozen instances of sexual misconduct.
Corey Lewandowski has a reputation for being tough — and close to Trump
During the 2016 campaign year, multiple news outlets reported on Lewandowski’s aggressive behavior, who, according to former colleagues, is known for his quick temper.
In March 2016, he was charged with battery after a surveillance video showed Lewandowski grabbing Fields and yanking her out of Trump’s way, leaving her with bruises.
Politico found that Lewandowski has long been accused of bullying, including once calling a female colleague at AFP the c-word in front of other employees.
The Wall Street Journal depicted a man quick to ream out his subordinates:
In a stairwell behind the stage as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at a packed rally recently, campaign manager Corey R. Lewandowski lashed out at his New Hampshire state director.
"My boss is working 20-hour days; you’re not," Mr. Lewandowski said. "You’re not meeting any of your metrics with the primary three weeks away."
In the motorcade afterward, Mr. Lewandowski called a longtime aide supervising another state: "Fly here tonight and take over."
Fox News called out Lewandowski for threatening then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly during Trump's months-long feud with the debate moderator.
Trump’s decision to bow out of the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2016 came after Lewandowski went on a “profanity-laced tirade” in response to organizers’ insistence that Trump's speech would be accompanied by a Q&A session.
Until working for Trump, Lewandowski had a rather banal political career as far as Republican operatives go. He was fired from the Trump campaign before the Republican National Convention, but remained close to Trump.
Since Trump’s election, Lewandowski has published a memoir about the campaign — which Trump has tweeted about. He has reportedly touted his access to the president in several lobbying endeavors, and has appeared on cable news as a political pundit. He’s enjoyed Trump’s loyalty and support throughout, even when he was charged with battery.
This closeness to Trump made Villa nervous about coming forward with her story, she said.
“I did feel that Corey could badmouth me,” Villa said. “I thought, ‘What if this messes up my chances.’ He has power and influence, and he’s close with the president, who just tweeted about his book. I wanted to play it safe and avoid the drama.”