Former Trump campaign manager kicks off Conservative Coalition event


Corey Lewandowski speaks at the Battle Cry 2018 event on Feb. 2 at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort.

A room tightly packed with more than 450 people rose to give a standing ovation as Corey Lewandowski walked on the elevated stage in the front of the room.

Lewandowski, who served as campaign manager for President Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign before splitting with the administration in June 2016, was the guest-of-honor for Battle Cry 2018, and annual event hosted by the Michigan Conservative Coalition. 

Battle Cry is a two-day event taking place at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort Feb. 2-3. 

During his time on stage, Lewandowski gave a retrospective of his time involved with the Trump campaign, beginning in April 2014, when Lewandowski met Trump at a political event in New Hampshire, and admitted to not considering him a "serious candidate." 

Lewandowski also detailed how Trump's attitude and political message gradually won him, and the people of the United States, over.

"Unlike Mitt Romney and others, we didn't hide from (Trump's) wealth," Lewandowski said. "We embraced it, because that's the American Dream. What we embraced with the campaign was the wealth that Donald Trump had made -- to show people that we are the greatest country in the world, and through hard work and dedication, you can have the same type of success that Donald Trump has had." 

After speaking, Lewandowski held a signing session for his new memoir "Let Trump Be Trump," which details his time on the Trump campaign. 

The first night of Battle Cry also saw performances from comedian and Trump impersonator Bob DiBuono, and the band Rhythm Deluxe. U.S. Senate candidate Sandy Pensler and radio DJ Terry "Thayrone X" Hughes also spoke at the event. 

Linda Brandis, registration coordinator for the Michigan Conservative Coalition, said the turnout  for the event was "excellent," and nearly twice as large as the previous year. Brandis credits the turnout numbers partially to 2018 being an election year, but also to general "Trump excitement."

"Grass roots (groups) are excited for where we are right now, and where republicans are going," Brandis said. 

Also in the crowd for the event was Laurette Deboer of Holland, who plans to run for Michigan Senate.

"It's just wonderful to have so many conservatives together in one room," Deboer said. "I love the conservative values, and I love Corey (Lewandowski) being here and giving us inside information on President Trump, who I campaigned very hard for during the election season."

The second day of the event will begin at 9:25 a.m. Feb. 3 with an invocation from Pastor Philip Smith from Eternal Word Church in Grandville. Other speakers will include: 

  • Tom Leonard, Speaker of the House for the Michigan House of Representatives, who is currently running for Attorney General
  • Lee Chatfield, state representative
  • Stan Grot, Shelby Township Clerk and candidate for Michigan Secretary of State
  • Scott Hagerstrom, Michigan Trump Campaign Director
  • Diane Schindlbeck, founder of West Michigan Republicans and co-founder of Michigan Trump Republicans 

Best-selling author, director and conservative activist Dinesh D'Souza will also be speaking during the second day of the event.