Regulations

Trump Campaigner Urges Fair Play With TNCs

Posted on July 14, 2017 by - Also by this author

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski engaged a rapt audience of industry businesspeople with talk of job creation, the pro-business leanings of President Trump, and the need for more even regulations with Uber and TNCs. (LCT photo)
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski engaged a rapt audience of industry businesspeople with talk of job creation, the pro-business leanings of President Trump, and the need for more even regulations with Uber and TNCs. (LCT photo)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Summit attendees got a strong dose of insider politics and a pro-business outlook from one of President Donald Trump’s frontline supporters, who assured operators Trump has always been an avid user of chauffeured transportation.  

“Even before he was the President, he was a chauffeur and limousine kind of guy,” said Corey Lewandowski, who served as Trump’s campaign manager from January 2015 to June 2016. “He would go around New York all the time in chauffeured limousines; that’s just how he operated.” Trump likely isn’t very familiar with or fond of using Uber, he added.

Lewandowski’s presentation on May 22 consisted of part business pep-talk and part political intrigue as he relayed insider tales from his 18 months as Trump’s first campaign manager. He was interviewed at the Eden Roc Hotel conference center by LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson and Dav El / BostonCoach Chauffeured Transporation CEO Scott Solombrino, who also serves as a board director for the National Limousine Association focused on legislation.

Lewandowski made it clear he wasn’t officially speaking for the Trump Administration, but only sharing his views as a political observer and pundit. Before the Trump campaign, he worked as a campaign strategist for the Republican Party and as a lobbyist. He now appears as a political analyst and commentator on the Fox News Channel and One America Network.

All About Business
“What Trump understands is you need to give small business owners relief. You need to give them the tools so they can be successful,” Lewandowski said.  

He drew parallels between the businesses Trump developed as he grew his enterprises to chauffeured transportation operations. Trump wants to create 25 million jobs, and “none of those are Uber jobs,” he said. “This administration is about jobs; it’s about the economy and growing businesses.
“What we’ve seen in general is significant investments from companies that want to grow again in the U.S.,” Lewandowski said. “That’s not been the case for a long time, because the biggest and most important part of this administration is jobs. And when you guys are out creating jobs on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, that story collectively is being compiled and told to the administration so they better understand what they’re doing.”

Lewandowski was interviewed by LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson, who asked how the industry can pursue its regulatory agenda, and by Dav El/BostonCoach CEO and NLA board director Scott Solombrino, who asked the political junkie questions about managing the Trump campaign. (LCT photo)
Lewandowski was interviewed by LCT Publisher Sara Eastwood-Richardson, who asked how the industry can pursue its regulatory agenda, and by Dav El/BostonCoach CEO and NLA board director Scott Solombrino, who asked the political junkie questions about managing the Trump campaign. (LCT photo)
Putting Uber It Its Place
Lewandowski underscored the main regulatory goal of the limousine industry as it confronts transportation network companies (TNCs).

“I think what your industry needs — what every industry should have — is a level playing field,” he said. “That’s all you’ve ever asked for, which is the same rules for everybody. You are an industry that’s trying to play by the rules but you don’t have a fair playing field.”

Lewandowski warned Uber’s drive to keep rates as low as possible risks compromising safety for business travelers, a leading client niche for the chauffeured transportation industry.

“I am certain there will come a time where an employee who is working for a business on the clock goes from point A to B in an Uber and something detrimental happens,” he said. “And you will see a massive lawsuit from that individual who says to the corporation, ‘You told me to take an Uber, because for whatever reason, you didn’t provide me the service, and this is what happened.’ That will happen. There’s no question about it because the companies think that’s a cost-savings approach because they don’t have to have a limousine service on-call. Well wait until one lawsuit comes. . .  you want to talk about [what will happen to] insurance premiums?”

Lewandowski encouraged industry leaders to work with officials at the Departments of Treasury and Labor as the transition evolves and positions are filled. He urged leaders and operators to help the new administration better understand the limousine industry and its push for fairer regulations.

The top administration leadership, which has not worked in government jobs, is looking at big picture agenda items and getting a handle on running the federal government. “What they want is small businesses to come in and say, ‘Let us help you be successful,’” Lewandowski said.

On The Front Line
The bulk of Lewandowski’s presentation centered on his role helping ignite one of the most memorable, historic, and stunning Presidential election upsets in U.S. history.

It was at a Conservative Political Action Committee Conference in February 2015 where Lewandowski realized Trump was more than a passing phenomenon. Compared to other Republican candidates at the conference, Trump drew enthusiastic, overflow crowds, not because of his reality TV billionaire stardom, but because of his populist political message that resonated with America’s middle class. Lewandowski observed such crowds again while campaigning in New Hampshire.

“There were so many people, the cars were backed up two miles deep, and people were literally running after the car with Trump as we got to the event,” he recalled. “They were literally standing on the roof of this building just to get a glimpse of this guy. I have never seen anything like it. What were supposed to be only 200 people turned out to be 3,000 people. We knew right there that people wanted something so different.”  

Trump would fill up stadiums with people waiting in line for hours to see him. “What the media refused to report is the intensity level of the people who supported Trump,” Lewandowski said. “Once we got first place in the polls in New Hampshire, which happened in July 2015, we never looked back.”

After he was replaced as campaign manager in June 2016, Lewandowski became a commentator for CNN. He told the audience how he refused to criticize Trump and remained loyal because he believed in the future President’s ideas and plans. He relayed the election night upset that took Trump to the White House, and him from CNN to Fox News:

Attendees clamored to get photos taken with Lewandowski as he left the ballroom for his waiting chauffeured car to the airport. Here he poses with Tony Mehdiof of North Point Transportation in Atlanta. (LCT photo)
Attendees clamored to get photos taken with Lewandowski as he left the ballroom for his waiting chauffeured car to the airport. Here he poses with Tony Mehdiof of North Point Transportation in Atlanta. (LCT photo)
“So I knew at 10:30 p.m. Trump would win, and I went to the CNN guys and said, ‘Look, Donald Trump is going to be the President of the United States. Here are the numbers.’ So they said, ‘You can’t say that on TV.’ ‘Okay, I won’t say it.’ But I said, ‘But it’s a fact. I’m looking at the numbers, he’s going to win Florida, he’s going to win North Carolina, he’s won Ohio and Iowa. He’s going to win Pennsylvania, he’s probably going to carry Michigan. Wisconsin looks very good for us.’ They said, ‘You can’t say that.’ So, we sat on this panel all night long and they refused to acknowledge that Trump was winning.”

“The only state that was potentially still close was Nevada, but we didn’t need it once you pick up Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. So, they [still] didn’t want to call the race, even though a bunch of the other channels had called it. And as a matter of fact, this network executive waited — literally waited — until after Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump to concede, to then say, ‘We’ve got breaking news. We can now say Donald Trump is going to be the next president.’”

At 4 a.m., Lewandowski said he walked off the set and told a CNN executive, ‘It’s so disingenuous. You guys knew, you refused to call it, and I can’t do this. I quit.’ So I walked out and I quit.”


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