Longtime Republican activist Phyllis Schlafly says the group she founded 44 years ago to promote a conservative agenda is trying to oust her because she endorsed Donald Trump.
“It’s disloyal and it’s terribly shocking, and I’m completely depressed about it,” Schlafly told conservative site World Net Daily on Monday.
The 91-year-old GOP activist gave conflicting descriptions of a Monday special meeting in which she said members of her Eagle Forum group discussed removing her as the CEO and chairman of the board. She was first quoted by WND saying saying that six board members called the meeting, but the article later stated that Schlafly said only three people called the meeting. WND reported that Eagle Forum lawyers say the group’s bylaws wouldn’t recognize a meeting called by just three board members.
Schlafly’s son John, who serves as a board member and treasurer for the group, told the conservative news site that the meeting was called by Eagle Forum members “who feel Donald Trump is unacceptable as the GOP presidential candidate in 2016.”
Other Eagle Forum board members told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the meeting ended inconclusively and Schlafly remains in her post for now. In a statement to the newspaper, they said that the group’s president, Ed Martin, was ousted.
Schlafly, who appointed Martin in 2015, released her own statement saying that the meeting was “improper” and that its results “will not stand.”
Martin agreed that some on the board were plotting a coup, writing on the group’s Facebook site over the weekend that some members were planning “an upcoming hostile takeover of Eagle Forum’s board and its assets.” He called Schlafly’s endorsement of Trump “a likely catalyst.”
Both Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) courted the conservative icon’s vote. Schlafly endorsed Trump at a March campaign rally in her hometown of St. Louis, saying the GOP frontrunner has the “courage and the energy” to “do what the grassroots wants him to do.”
Members of Eagle Forum, including Schlafly’s own daughter Anne Cori, disagreed, making on-the-record statements in support of Cruz.
Cathie Adams, who served as the group’s president for 23 years, told the Dallas Morning News that the Trump campaign was “taking advantage” of the elderly activist.
“We have no respect for that man,” Adams said of Trump. “[Schlafly’s endorsement] is going to be widely dismissed. At 91, it is just totally unfair to impose upon someone who has such a beautiful legacy.”
Schlafly gained national prominence in the 1970s for her outspoken opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion and modern feminism. Today, she maintains an active presence on the Eagle Forum site, where she writes posts such as a recent April column titled “Chinese Crowding Our College Campuses.”