A new political scandal
A bombshell report from DailyMail.com alleges that South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem and Donald Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski have been having an affair since at least 2019.
Noem, 51, who previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives for four terms before becoming a governor in 2019, has been married to Bryon Noem, with whom she has three children, since 1992. Lewandowski, 49, has been married to Alison Hardy, a 9/11 widow he’s known since middle school, since 2005; they have four kids.
When approached by the outlet, neither denied an affair. In its Sept. 15 story, DailyMail.com reported that Lewandowski did not respond to a request for comment while the family values-supporting governor — who’s publicly supported “traditional marriage,” which she’s called “a special, God-given union between one man and one woman” — issued a statement criticizing the outlet for the timing of the article.
DailyMail.com stated that it believes news of the alleged romance could end Noem’s chances of being Trump’s pick for vice president on the GOP ticket. “[Lewandowski] may not be very smart, but it takes big b**** to lobby to have your mistress named one of the most powerful people in the country,” an unnamed Republican operative told DailyMail.com, which reported that Lewandowski has been advocating for Noem to be Trump’s running mate.
Keep reading for all the details of the alleged relationship…
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DailyMail.com reported on Sept. 15 that its reporters delved into affair claims and that its investigation uncovered extensive evidence of a romantic relationship between South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Donald Trump political adviser Corey Lewandowski.
The outlet reported that it learned about dozens of trips that mixed business with pleasure, private flights together on donors’ planes and stays at luxury resorts and observations of intimacy.
According to DailyMail.com, former Donald Trump operative Charles Johnson took to Substack to share his observations after seeing Kristi Noem and Corey Lewandowski interact at an August 2020 meeting of the Republican Attorneys General Association at The Cloister resort on Sea Island, Georgia. He claimed he saw them behaving “in a very flirtatious manner” and alleged they “seemed to be dating despite being married to other people.”
Johnson shared specifics with DailyMail.com, telling the outlet he saw Noem take Lewandowski’s hand and discreetly put it in her lap as Lewandowski put his arm on Noem’s back.
DailyMail.com spoke to two other sources who were at the same event who said they were surprised by the obvious affection shared between Noem and Lewandowski. “A lot of people were talking about it,” said one of those sources — an unnamed conservative political strategist who saw the pair as they left for a walk on the beach.
An “open secret”
DailyMail.com’s Sept. 15 report detailed interactions between South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Donald Trump political adviser Corey Lewandowski on trips and getaways including one to AmpFest, a gathering of Trump supporters at a Trump property in Miami in 2019. The outlet reported that Noem spent much of her time by Lewandowski’s side. “It was not an A-tier event,” an unnamed source who’s a Trump administration official said, adding, “It was weird to see a governor from the other side of the country be there.”
The official thought Noem and Lewandowski were a couple, based on their behavior. “I had met Corey a few times, but that was the first time I saw Kristi,” the source recalled. “I told Corey it was nice to meet his wife. He looked at me and said, ‘That’s not my wife.'”
In the months leading up to the 2020 election, DailyMail.com writes, “their relationship was an open secret at the White House and among high-level GOP lobbyists and political consultants.”
According to the unnamed Trump administration official, “It became a joke. Every time someone said something about how Kristi would be a savior to the conservative movement, someone else would say, ‘Right, the savior that’s f****** Corey Lewandowski.'”
In September 2021, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced that Corey Lewandowski was out as her senior political adviser following a troubling incident in Las Vegas — more on that next — in which he allegedly made unwanted sexual advances toward the wife of a major Donald Trump campaign donor.
But according to a source who spoke to DailyMail.com, “When Las Vegas happened, [Noem] fired [Lewandowski] without really firing him. He never left.”
The outlet claimed that Noem didn’t want her family to know they still spent time together — “Her husband would have lost his mind,” the source explained — so Noem “only told staffers that needed to know.”
Noem’s spouse, Bryon Noem — pictured with her here — is said to “detest” Lewandowski, DailyMail.com reported.
Getting “handsy” at a hotel bar
In the wake of DailyMail.com’s bombshell story, other outlets including the New York Post also reported on the alleged affair between South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and political operative Corey Lewandowski, who are both married to other people.
On Sept. 15, the Post cited multiple sources in confirming a years-long affair and claimed the duo have been, as it wrote, “less than discreet” about their encounters.
One source told the Post that Noem and Lewandowski were seen getting “handsy” at the bar of the Hyatt Regency Orlando during the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida when there were between 100 and 200 people around. “I remember it was so absurdly blatant and public,” said the source.
“It wasn’t like 2 a.m. It isn’t like we caught them at some dive bar miles away,” the source added. “It’s a lobby bar where everyone is staying and so there’s a bajillion political operatives and journalists and electeds around. I remember I saw it with my own eyes and a couple other people saw it and the blatantness was absurd.”
According to the same source, “This has been a known, open thing and we’ve all been waiting for it to blow up at some point.”
In 2017, singer and Trump supporter Joy Villa filed a police report alleging Corey Lewandowski sexual assaulted her at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., saying he “smacked my a** really hard” and that it was “almost violent in nature,” CNN reported.
In 2018, the book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff reported that then-President Donald Trump’s White House Communications Director Hope Hicks was in an on-off relationship with Lewandowski, who was married to another woman and working as Trump’s campaign manager at the time.
In 2021, Lewandowski allegedly got drunk and made unwanted sexual advances toward Trashelle Odom, the wife of construction executive John Odom, a major Trump donor. Politico, which reported on the incident, posted a statement from Odom in which she said Lewandowski “repeatedly touched me inappropriately, said vile and disgusting things to me, stalked me, and made me feel violated and fearful.” Her attorneys elaborated, telling Politico that Lewandowski spoke to Odom about the size of his genitalia and his sexual performance and showed her his hotel room key. He also allegedly followed her, threw a drink on her and called her “stupid.”
The claims are not entirely new — there are just more details now
In 2021, DailyMail.com reported, the conservative website American Greatness alleged that South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Donald Trump political aide Corey Lewandowski were romantically involved.
In the wake of those allegations, she hit back on Twitter, writing, “These rumors are total garbage and a disgusting lie. … These old, tired attacks on conservative women are based on a falsehood that we can’t achieve anything without a man’s help. I love [my husband] Bryon. I’m proud of the God-fearing family we’ve raised together. Now I’m getting back to work.”
Her response to the newest affair report
Governor Kristi Noem’s spokesperson, Ian Fury, responded to DailyMail.com’s queries about an alleged affair with this statement:
“This is so predictable that you would attack Governor Noem less than a week after she endorsed Donald J. Trump as the 47th President of the United States.
“As Governor Noem said during that endorsement speech: ‘Yes, I will be attacked for speaking the truth to all of you tonight. Yes, I expect Joe Biden, these candidates, their political operatives, and the media will perpetuate ugly, hateful misinformation in an attempt to destroy me and my family because of my opinions.
“It’s nothing new. I’m getting used to it honestly.'”
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