You’ve probably seen the news that Corey Lewandowski, the much-fired Trump soldier, was canned as the head of the MAGA Action Trump PAC. This came after he was accused of groping, harassing and stalking a Trump donor at an event in Las Vegas on Sunday night. Given Lewandowski’s reputation and rap sheet this is a highly, highly plausible accusation. But it also came simultaneously with charges from a pro-Trump publication a day before that Lewandowski was having an affair with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. Was this latter claim – which comes from a conservative website and offers little if any corroboration – somehow intended to distract from the assault claim? Noem was also at the Sunday night dinner.
In any case, the accuser is Trashelle Odom. (Yes, a real name.) In the initial reports she was named as a major Trump donor. And it was plausibly suggested that her donor status got Lewandowski fired. This is what first got me curious. With those reports I figured we were talking about some big time donor. But that’s where things got a bit confusing to me.
Trashelle Odom is the wife of John Odom, who doesn’t seem to fit the part of a major Trump donor. He owns what appears to be a local construction company in Nampa, Idaho. The about and ‘Meet the Team’ page here does not suggest the kind of big operation that would generate funds to count as a MAGA high roller – or someone Trump would be cautious about getting on the wrong side of.
Odom’s accusations detailed in this Politico piece sound over-the-top and horrifying. While it’s not said explicitly there’s a strong angry drunk vibe to the descriptions of Lewandowski’s behavior. Odom allegedly had to time her departure the next morning to avoid Lewandowski because her hotel room was next door to his.
When we looked it seems like John Odom and his company have basically no political giving history at all. Politico reported that his company gave $100,000 to MAGA Action. We found only a $60,000 contribution. But the current reporting period isn’t over yet. So perhaps there was a subsequent $40,000 contribution. In any case, we have no reason to doubt Politico’s report. And either way, we’re talking one sizable contribution. Beside that we found one other political contribution going back to 2015.
Let me be clear: none of this casts any doubt on Odom’s accusation. It’s the one part of this story that is highly plausible. Lewandowski was charged with manhandling reporter Michelle Fields in 2016. Pro-Trump recording artist Joy Villa filed an assault complaint against Lewandowski a year later. But this wasn’t some big time Republican or Trump donor. They seem very new to the Trump world and the political giving world altogether. Kristi Noem was also at this event. It seems hard to believe that the report of a Lewandowski-Noem affair, even if totally false, weren’t somehow triggered by whatever happened at this Benihana restaurant in Vegas on Sunday evening.
The Noem allegations were published on Tuesday in a Trumpite outfit called American Greatness. The Odom accusations emerged Wednesday.