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On March 8, 2016, at a rally in St. Louis, conservative icon and founder of Eagle Forum Phyllis Schlafly officially endorsed Donald Trump for president. Who could have predicted that one month later, that endorsement would lead to talk of her ousting from the organization she created and built over the last four decades?
It’s certainly no surprise this political season when internal management and members of one of America’s most conservative organizations have strong, even divisive, disagreements about the Republican primary race. Starting with Schlafly’s Trump endorsement over Ted Cruz, the preference of most of the Eagle Forum board, that certainly has happened here.
Board member and former Texas GOP chair Cathie Adams had strong words for the Dallas Morning News and didn’t hesitate to undermine Schlafly in the process: “We have no respect for that man [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 … I think this was very much a manipulation. When you’re 91 and you’re not out with the grass-roots all the time, it is very much taking advantage of someone.”
Given all the internal strife, it was only natural that Schlafly suspected foul play when six board members, including her daughter Anne Cori, conducted a “private” teleconference, kicking Schlafly herself off the call 11 minutes into it. Schlafly then issued a statement via Facebook:
“I have just released the following statement to the press and our members:
“At 2:00 pm today, 6 directors of Eagle Forum met in an improper, unprecedented telephone meeting. I objected to the meeting and at 2:11pm, I was muted from the call. The meeting was invalid under the Bylaws but the attendees purported to pass several motions to wrest control of the organization from me. They are attempting to seize access to our bank accounts, to terminate employees, and to install members of their own Gang of 6 to control the bank accounts and all of Eagle Forum.
“The members of their group are: Eunie Smith of Alabama, Anne Cori of Missouri, Cathie Adams of Texas, Rosina Kovar of Colorado, Shirley Curry of Tennessee, and Carolyn McLarty of Oklahoma.
This kind of conduct will not stand and I will fight for Eagle Forum and I ask all men and women of good will to join me in this fight.”
As it turned out it wasn’t Schlafly who was ousted (yet), but rather new president Ed Martin, a Schlafly supporter who wrote on Eagle Forum’s Facebook page over the weekend that “word has come of a rogue board meeting and an upcoming hostile takeover of Eagle Forum’s board and its assets. Phyllis Schlafly’s endorsement of Trump is a likely catalyst.”
For now, Schlafly remains as chairman and CEO. Her daughter Anne Cori, a strong supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz, will succeed Martin as president.
Addressing the incident yesterday to WND, Donald Trump released a statement via his campaign staff, “Phyllis is one of the most respected conservative leaders in the country, who helped form the conservative movement, and I am incredibly grateful for her continued support.”
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