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T-Mobile should speak out about Corey Lewandowski—and fire him

Corporations have the power to be voices of social responsibility in the Trump era, and T-Mobile should seize the opportunity.

T-Mobile should speak out about Corey Lewandowski—and fire him
Corey Lewandowski [Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Image]

T-Mobile may be wondering what it got itself into when it enlisted the services of ex-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski last month.

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Lewandowski appeared to mock an immigrant child with Down Syndrome during a live Fox News TV appearance on Tuesday night. At the mention of the child by a Democratic commentator, Lewandowski broke in to utter the “womp womp” sad-trombone sound commonly heard when someone loses on a game show. Following his ex-boss’s tactic, Lewandowski then doubled down by refusing to apologize.

Fast Company and several other news outlets have asked T-Mobile to comment on its new ally’s antics, but the company has so far been quiet.

Ex-Fox host Megyn Kelly reacted to Lewandowski’s appearance on Twitter: “There is no low to which this coward Corey Lewandowski won’t sink,” she wrote. “This man should not be afforded a national platform to spew his hate.” Kelly now hosts a morning show on NBC.

T-Mobile has acknowledged that its parent company Deutsche Telekom retained the services of Lewandowski’s firm, Turnberry Solutions, to help T-Mobile U.S. win regulatory approval of its proposed merger with Sprint. The telecom also confirmed that Lewandowski was an employee of Turnberry. (Lewandowski had denied any association in 2017.) The Wall Street Journal uncovered documents saying Lewandowski “receives a cut of the fees paid to the lobbying firm on the T-Mobile contract.”

T-Mobile’s actions mirror those of AT&T’s when it signed up for the consulting services of President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen shortly after the 2016 election. AT&T said it wanted Cohen’s “insights” on telecom regulatory matters, though Cohen has no experience in that arena. What Cohen did have was access to the president, and that’s what AT&T was really after. When AT&T’s Cohen relationship was brought to light in court documents pertaining to the president’s alleged affair with the stripper Stormy Daniels, the company quickly waxed contrite.

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Well before Lewandowski’s comments this week, there were reasons a large corporation might choose not to associate itself with him. Lewandowski has been criticized for shoving a female reporter while serving as Trump’s campaign manager. He was later accused of sexual assault by singer Joy Villa.

His new Fox appearance took place on the eve of Trump’s executive order moving to end the practice of separating detained parents and children at the U.S. border. Trump’s reversal came as outrage over the policy grew louder. Interestingly, Trump finally moved after major companies began speaking out against the policy, indicating that the voice of social responsibility from corporate America may be one of the few forces capable of making the Trump administration blink.

T-Mobile should now demonstrate its own sense of social responsibility and dismiss Lewandowski’s firm. Corporations, like people, are known by the friends they keep.

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