Ethics Hero: Former Trump Publicist Stephanie Cegielski

I can't bear posting another picture of Trump, so here is an Angora rabbit...

I can’t bear posting another picture of Trump, so here is an Angora rabbit…

Stephanie Cegielsk, who describes herself as a Trump defector, has performed a great service by shedding much needed light on the inner rot that is the Donald Trump campaign and character,  and by presenting credible evidence, based on her personal experience as part of Trump’s inner circle of advisors, that he is preparing to betray his loyal supporters.

Now, this won’t make a dent in Trump’s support, because Trump’s supporters have already proven beyond any doubt that there is no logic or reason in their strange state of consciousness. Cegielski writes that she respects these fools, and that explains her open letter to them on her blog. We know that she might as well be lecturing hermit crabs on Plato’s Cave. At least she’s trying, though.

Cegielski’s revelation is consistent with the suspicions of many others regarding Trump, including me, but it is still bracing to read it in print from a disillusioned ally. Trump, she says, ran as a lark, and was as shocked as everyone else when his campaign caught fire. Then he started having fun, his ego took over, and he decided, “What the hell? Let’s go for it!” fully assuming that Trumpomania would run out of gas in short order.

Now  he is close to winning, and scared to death. Measuring the increasingly reckless and irresponsible, not to mention silly, things he has been saying, Cegielski has concluded that Trump doesn’t want to broaden his appeal and is in the process of leaving his blindly admiring supporters at the altar. She writes:

“He doesn’t want the White House. He just wants to be able to say that he could have run the White House. He’s achieved that already and then some. If there is any question, take it from someone who was recruited to help the candidate succeed, and initially very much wanted him to do so.”


“You can give Trump the biggest gift possible if you are a Trump supporter: stop supporting him.”

Pondering  Cegielski’s “Confession of a Trump Staffer”-style expose, Huffington Post writer Richard Zombeck concludes that Trump is preparing his own exit strategy.

“So let’s assume that all of that is true. Donald Trump can’t just quit. After all, he’s Donald Trump. The next logical step would be to take a fall — possibly losing the nomination by a small margin. But again, if you’re Donald Trump you don’t lose. If you’re Donald Trump and want to get out while still maintaining your brand and your dignity, you play the long game and come out looking like a victim. In a sense, you spin it so that your supporters think you’re so accurate in your assessment of the world that it frightens the establishment into shutting you down — you’re that powerful…”

After listing some—only some!—of the mind-blowingly stupid things he has done and said of late on the way to multiplying the number of Americans who tell pollsters that they would rather vote for a pufferfish and making the most unpopular Senator in Washington (and one of the most uncharismatic  political figures in U.S. history) look like a viable candidate in comparison, Zombeck writes…

“What began as a con will end as a con. Trump will continue to make bombastic, ludicrous and inane comments, proving to the media—who are all too eager to give him all the attention he wants—that he is wholly unqualified for the job. Other republicans will chastise him for the things that he says, proving to his followers that he is being targeted by an establishment that is afraid of him. Trump will walk away unscathed, his brand strengthened and his dignity intact. He will be the guy who nearly became president, but was too much for people to take. In many ways and on many levels nothing could be more accurate.”

Such a self-engineered end to the Trump campaign would be, of course, a cynical betrayal of staggering dimensions, and a demonstration of cowardice, dishonesty and disloyalty unapproached in political history.

I don’t know if this really is going on or not. Zombeck gives Trump far too much credit in some ways, saying, for example, that he “isn’t stupid.” He is stupid. Nobody who does and says so many stupid things, including constantly boasting about how smart he is, could be anything but stupid. Zombeck’s theory, as I understand it, is that Trump originally played stupid to attract stupid supporters, and is now saying and doing even more stupid things so he can lose just as he is on the cusp of winning. And that’s…smart?

Cegielski also thinks Trump is smart, but has apparently concluded that he is a deranged narcissist. Thus she is warning people who have shown the tendency to attack, sometimes physically, anyone who dares to question their finely honed arguments for backing the tycoon, subtle and nuanced positions which I would summarize as “ARRRGHRGHHHHH!” Throwing ice water on such unstable people takes guts, futile though it may be. She concludes…

The hard truth is: Trump only cares about Trump.

And if you are one of the disaffected voters — one of the silent majority like me — who wanted a candidate who could be your voice, I want to speak directly to you as one of his biggest advocates and supporters.

He is not that voice. He is not your voice. He is only Trump’s voice.

Trump is about Trump. Not one of his many wives. Not one of his many “pieces of ass.” He is, at heart, a self-preservationist….

I don’t dismiss any single Trump constituent, which is why I believe it’s important to let you know that the candidate does.

I, too, think our country has gone off track in its values. I, too, think that we need a dramatic change of course. But I am, in my heart, a policy wonk and a believer in coming to the table with necessary knowledge for leading the free world.

The man does not know policy, nor does he have the humility to admit what he does not know — the most frightening position of all….

I consider myself a part of the silent majority that led to Trump’s rise, which is why I want you to know that I am with you — I wanted Trump to be real, too.

He is not….

No matter how many times he repeats it, Trump would not be the “best” at being a president, being in shape, fighting terrorism, selling steaks, and whatever other “best” claim he has made in the last 15 minutes.

He would be the best at something, though. He is the best at looking out for Donald Trump — at all costs.

Don’t let our country pay that price.

At least Trump’s  supporters, if and when he does betray them in the end, won’t be able to say they weren’t warned.


Pointer: Tim LeVier

30 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: Former Trump Publicist Stephanie Cegielski

    • Thanks…that’s interesting. I don’t think it changes anything. Do you? The Snopes note about the Superpac suggests that it was coordinating with Trump’s mess of a campaign organization, and so what roles were being played by whom are necessarily vague. I also don’t think disclaimers from Trump’s mouthpieces discrediting something like this can be taken at face value. Snopes is even on dubious ground here. Why is this Snopes-type material? Are they going to fact-check all political pieces now? The Snope family is a small, ideologically conservative operation, and this looks like a misuse of their mission.

      • I’m not comfortable with the fact her claims about Trump’s motivations get reposted/reblogged/tweeted/whatever those damn kids do these days. She wasn’t one of his staffers, she can’t show that she worked with him at all, nor has she made a claim that she has.

        But she implies it.

        The whole open letter is a lesson in how to lie through omission. That bugs me.

        I sat in Trump Tower being told that the goal was to get The Donald to poll in double digits and come in second in delegate count. That was it.

        In Trump tower. Just imagine it, a meeting in Trump Tower. It must be with someone big. Or with someone in the Starbucks downstairs.

        And as part of that support, in October, I supported the internal decision to close the Super PAC in order to position him as the quintessential non-politician. I still supported him with great passion after that.

        Sounds like it’s coming from the campaign. Did she say campaign though? Internal decision, inside the superpac, by someone or someones.

        It wasn’t long before every day I awoke to a buzzing phone and a shaking head because Trump had said something politically incorrect the night before.

        Sounds like she’s busy on the job, but she didn’t work for the campaign so who was seeking her out every morning? It could be anyone, she says her phone was buzzing every morning, she didn’t say it was to provide statements or give interviews or correct the record. For all we know, he friedns were trying to show her how crazy the guy she supported is.

        In fact, many people are not aware of the Trump campaign’s internal slogan, but I will tell you.

        I know something you probably don’t because not many people do. And by saying this I imply without outright stating that I was inside enough to know these things.

        While the pundits pontificated about what type of PR stunt Trump had up his billion-dollar sleeves, I met with people who convinced me he was serious about changing the political conversation. I wanted to raise millions for him. I wanted to contribute to millions of votes.

        People, she met with people and they convinced her they made her want to raise millions. Who are these people? Do they work for Trump? Are they close to him? Probably, right? And she wanted to raise millions, that sort of implies that she has the ability to raise millions.

        Without intending to do so, I began to hear and evaluate him more critically and skeptically as a member of the voting public rather than a communications person charged with protecting his positions.

        See the pattern? She stopped thinking like someone charged with protecting his interests and thereby implies….

        It doesn’t sit right.

        • I don’t see any of that. First of all, I’m sure the Superpac WAS coordinating with the campaign, illegally, accidentally if not in person. Why? Look at how Trump simply assumes Cruz was behind the Superpac attack on his wife. That means to me that he thinks coordination is the rule, not the exception. Why wouldn’t she know the Trump internal slogan? (I didn’t see this as especially damning, by the way.) I’m a distant member of the DC theater community—an outside insider. I have no official position anymore; I don’t go to meetings; but I know a whole lot more about what goes on behind closed doors than the average ticket-buyer.

          She sounds like someone close enough to the campaign to have valuable and legitimate insights.

      • Jack, I’d argue that it DOES matter and that Stephanie’s “open letter” was itself unethical.

        Stephanie is on video record with one of the major networks (can’t remember which one, sorry) admitting that not only did she not work for Trump (she worked for a superpac aligned with Trump), she never even MET Trump.

        Suppose we stipulate, for the sake of discussion, that everything else she wrote about him is true. The problem remains: she didn’t disclose that she has no first-hand knowledge of the man, his ambitions or his actual intent. Her “letter” made it appear that she did, and treated as fact what are actually matters of opinion.

        That opinion of Trump (which I happen to share) isn’t the point here. The point is that she passed herself off as an expert when, in fact, she wasn’t. Social media and left-wing “news” sites – and a few conservative anybody-but-Trump ones – took things the rest of the way by re-posting, excerpting, trumpeting and giving the piece far more credibility than it actually deserves.

        I don’t think this is a case of an Ethics Hero. I’d call it an Ethics Train Wreck, albeit one involving HO Scale equipment and confined to a table in the basement.

        • I didn’t take that she knew Trump, though. I don’t feel misled. She was immersed in a pro-Trump culture, and a lot closer to the candidate through that than you or me, or anyone I know. She comes from a solid corporate background—unlike most Trump supporters, she doesn’t seem to be a whack job. She has enough authority to be accorded credibility. I’ve believed what she wrote for many years, but I am only observing from afar. She’s closer, and probably receiving death threats….and expected to.

          At this point, anybody who is actively trying to make it clear to the GOP and the public, including Trump supporters, that he isn’t someone who should be granted a shot at destroying the country because “it’s fair” or because “his supporters would go ballistic” or because the news media is trying to give Hillary a open field is a hero in my book. Romney, her, me…

  1. I saw a picture of the “real” Stephanie Cegielski. It didn’t look anything like that rabbit. Well, maybe a little, around the eyes.

  2. “Zombeck gives Trump far too much credit in some ways, saying, for example, that he “isn’t stupid.” He is stupid. Nobody who does and says so many stupid things, including constantly boasting about how smart he is, could be anything but stupid.”


    From a comment I made two days ago: “I think we’re finally beginning to see The Donald’s attention span being exceeded. His campaign is unprofessional and suggests it’s nothing more than a publicity stunt.” Everything this woman says confirms this.

    The Trump campaign is “The Producers” of politics. “I’ll build a wall and make the Mexicans pay for it” is his “Springtime for Hitler in Germany” number.

    “Always turn to the joke.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

  3. So maybe I wasn’t too far off when I said…

    Trump is a caricature, the culmination of all those Liberal political cartoons portraying Republicans with Liberal magical thinking, it’s the equivalent to a DC Comic graphic novel coming to life.

    The whole Trump thing appears to be Liberal magical thinking of Republicans portrayed by a narcissist actor citing a script.

    Trump is full of rhetoric that is entrenched in unwavering intellectual dishonesty guided by his appallingly unethical character that is projecting his complete and utter moral bankruptcy.

    It’s my opinion that Trump is a dirt bag narcissistic snake oil salesman.

    Trump has no ideology.

    Trump is dangerous.

    The Republican Party needs to take an ideological, ethical, and moral stand against this faux Republican caricature.

  4. “The Republican Party needs to take an ideological, ethical, and moral stand against this faux Republican caricature.”

    Can you explain to me who are all those faux Republicans who keep voting for him in primaries?

    • charlesgreen said, “Can you explain to me who are all those faux Republicans who keep voting for him in primaries?”

      What the heck is wrong with you today? Reread what I wrote, it’s not the voters that are a faux Republican it’s Trump!

      • And my point is – if you’ll re-read what I wrote – the voters supporting Trump are, correct me if I’m wrong, card-carrying Republicans, voting in Republican primaries, calling themselves Republican – and representing so far the plurality of voters in the Republican primary.

        Your call for the Republican Party to wake up is like a leader yelling “charge,” then looking behind him to see no one is following.

        Or, to use another cultural metaphor, “We have met the enemy (Trumpsters), and it is us (Republicans).”

        Just who do you think you’re talking to when you address “Republicans,” and why do you persist in denying that they’ve already voted with their feet?

        • charlesgreen said, “And my point is – if you’ll re-read what I wrote – the voters supporting Trump are, correct me if I’m wrong, card-carrying Republicans, voting in Republican primaries, calling themselves Republican – and representing so far the plurality of voters in the Republican primary.”

          You really want to go down this road with me?

          Mr. Green, that’s NOT what you wrote before, now is it. So let me get this straight, I’m suppose to reply to what you meant to write not what you actually wrote; that kind of nonsense is sounding a whole lot like the illogical stuff that Progressives over at write? Maybe if you would write what you actually meant in the first place then maybe you’d get a different reply. I DID read what you wrote, then I quoted what you wrote and what I was replying to, and then I replied directly to what you wrote (which doesn’t appear to be what you meant with your vague initial comment). So to conclude this paragraph; now Mr. Green, you don’t have to like my reply, you don;t have to agree with my reply, but I did reply to what you wrote – that sir is a fact.

          charlesgreen said, “Your call for the Republican Party to wake up is like a leader yelling “charge,” then looking behind him to see no one is following.”

          That’s just argumentative ridiculousness and I think I could find nearly those exact words uttered by a few Progressives on The opposition to Trump is everywhere within the Republican Party and growing rapidly, and the fact is that the MAJORITY of the people voting in the Republican Party primaries are not voting for Trump (you alluded to this fact above but now it seems that you’ve discarded that fact as irrelevant), you’re denying these simple FACTS!

          Now I’d like to better understand something related to what you wrote. Since you seem to think it’s pointless to “call for the Republican Party to wake up” and oppose Trump, then you must be advocating for the “tried and true” approach of do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing as the best approach to oppose Trump within the Republican Party, is that right? This too is how my Progressives friends at argue that Republicans should just accept Trump as the new GOP.

          I’m a Republican, I wouldn’t accept Trump as the nominee of the GOP, and I will never, EVER cast a vote for Trump under any circumstances, period. If you think I’m one of those leaders you spoke of yelling charge with no one following him, then you are utterly partisan blind.

          • Zoltar, speaking seriously, I’m delighted that you’re one of the sane people in the GOP, who views Trump as a disaster. I hope you indeed triumph, and Trump goes down in flames. Or just down, however it happens.

            My only concern is that, as you know, people have consistently under-estimated him. Remember when HuffPost refused to speak about him except in the Entertainment pages? Remember when every dumb thing he said was reported as a “gaffe,” but nothing ever came of it?

            I’m no Republican, as you know, but I do believe in and value our two-party system. I’m concerned that the stewards of the GOP brought this on themselves, and have consistently – to date – failed to tamp him down. In fact, worse yet, the biggest single plurality in the party today is Trump (and yes, fortunately, he’s not a majority, I note that and share your positivity on that point).

            The bigger challenge facing the GOP, it seems to me, is to find a way to incorporate the Tea Party-morphed-into-Trumpistas into the broader party. Pretty clearly they’re not excited by calls to eliminate the inheritance tax or cut the corporate tax rate, and I don’t think they’re motivated by calls to zero the deficit. Yet all those continue to be the stated goals of the non-Trump wings of the party.

            How will the GOP reconcile those constituencies? To date, there is not even a viable counter-Trump candidate (except for the execrable Cruz).

            Yes it’s important to stop Trump – but if all that leaves is scorched earth behind, I worry about the effect on all the Trumpsters left behind.

            If I were a Republican, I’d be more worried about dealing with the Trumpsters than with the Donald himself.

            • Some reasonable opinions in that comment, Thanks.

              Charles said, I’d be more worried about dealing with the Trumpsters than with the Donald himself.

              I disagree.

              You must deal with Trump directly, he is the source of the bastardizing of the GOP and the cancer eating away at the Party, he is literally the face of the current bastardized wing of the hijacked GOP; Trump is where the focus needs to be.

              There aren’t many people that agree 100% with everything a political candidate says, but support the overall policies as opposed to the alternate choices. That said; the constituency that is currently supporting Trump will either find a shared home with the Republicans, truly divide the Tea Party into a separate viable party and grow their vile form of unethical politics, move to the Democrats, or just fade away and crawl back under the rock they came from, support an Independent run by Trump, or maybe do something I haven’t thought of. They are going to do what they do; w h a t e v e r …

              If you torpedo a ship (Trump); some will go down with the ship, some will climb on board other ships and some will swim to a comfortable solid land based spot to avoid being torpedoed and sunk again.

              • He is not the “source of the bastardizing,” he simply shined a light on it and all the cockroaches came scurrying.

                  • The Sanders people will probably support Hillary.
                    Do you think the Trump people will fall into line behind–who, Cruz? Kasich?
                    I’m not seeing the parallel.

                    • It’s not exactly an ethics issue, but I’ll bite: Hillary does not inspire passion and enthusiasm, and the Obama kiddie cops will not vote for her, but slip back into the cynical apathy that is their natural state, especially since Obama has been such a disappointment. And if Bill keep speaking truth to BLM, she may not have the black vote she’s counting on, either.

                      The Republicans who are supporting Trump will easily shift over to Cruz. My guess is that much of Trump’s support is the conservative/independent idiot vote that seldom goes to the polls. Cruz won’t get that.

                      I still think neither of them will get the nomination.

  5. Here is one reason why I think Stephanie is credible.
    In1985 I took over an odd health care promotion outfit after its founder and CEO died. I found that its success was highly dependent on Senator Al Gore, who was using health promotion and screenings—our business—as his signature issue. His office turned donors our way; he appeared at our health fairs. His top aide was, I learned, calling the shots in our supposedly non-political non-profit, as it acted as an Al Gore promotion tool. I found that Gore’s aide’s wife had been added to our payroll. I never met Gore, because I ended what I thought was an illicit relationship before I had the chance to. I had many contentious meetings with Al’s aid, though. I learned that Gore’s MO was to pick a nascent issue that would bring him publicity and be ist champion until another, better one came along, whereupon he would drop his old crusade like a hot rock, and to hell with everyone who depended on him. He was already flirting with “the information superhighway” when I came on board…we were being sloughed off. “yeah,” his aide confessed when I asked point blank, “Al thinks this healthcare for the poor stuff has about run its course.” Suddenly, he wouldn’t answer our phone calls, come to fairs, write letters…nothing. It was as if the organization never existed. And I fired the aide’s wife.

    I wasn’t a staffer, but I was in regualt touch with people who were close to Gore, and I learned what a shallow, ruthless, manipulative character he was long before most people.

    Was I surprised when Al suddenly reinvented himself as global warming prophet? Of course not—this was cause #5 or #6 for him. I’m glad he finally found one that worked out.

  6. I’m really confused. While I hate Trump — and I can not state that strongly enough — if this woman really was his publicist, then she owed him a duty of loyalty. If she wanted to quit, then fine, but she doesn’t get to smear his name. No one should ever hire her again.

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