Singer Joy Villa has been a favorite among members of Trump’s circle ever since she donned a “Make America Great Again” dress at the Grammys in February. But her relationship appears to have soured with the president’s former campaign manager. On Friday, Villa claimed that Corey Lewandowski slapped her butt following a photo op at a recent holiday party held at the Trump International Hotel.
“I’m wearing this silver suit and stretchy pants, and after the photo, he smacks my ass really hard,” Villa told Politico. “It was completely demeaning and shocking.” The singer told the publication that a friend had introduced her to Lewandowski at the invite-only party, which was held at the end of November. While she said Lewandowski initially dismissed her, they eventually posed for a photo together, after which she alleges he promptly smacked her butt.
Villa claimed that when she half-jokingly told Lewandowski to watch it and warned him that she could report him for sexual harassment, he simply replied, “Go ahead, I work in the private sector.” She went on to tell Politico that after she asked him to stop, Lewandowski slapped her but a second time. In a tweet, Villa said that she was “shocked and embarrassed” by Lewandowski’s behavior. For his part, Lewandowski did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Politico.
While Lewandowski was fired by the Trump campaign well over a year ago, his name has recently been floated for a staff position in the West Wing, as other presidential aides are planning their exits. Trump has reportedly been communicating more with Lewandowski in recent weeks. In the past year, the former Trump campaign manager co-founded and then quit a lobbying firm and also did a brief stint as a CNN commentator.
This is not the first time that Lewandowski has landed in hot water for aggressive behavior or unwanted touching. Video showed him grabbing Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields by the arm during a March 2016 news conference in Florida. Lewandowski was arrested and charged with battery for that incident, but the charges were eventually dropped.
Michelle Fields, who has since left Breitbart, already responded to the incident, tweeting sarcastically on Friday that Villa is probably “just delusional and he didn’t touch her.” That was a reference to the way that Lewandowski responded to Fields’ accusations last year. Rather than admitting that he had been in contact with Fields, Lewandowski called her delusional and denied having ever met her.
Following the Fields incident, then-presidential candidate Trump defended Lewandowski, telling reporters during an interview that the reporter actually had been grabbing him, and that his campaign manager was simply acting as an intermediary to protect him. He went on to say that Lewandowski had been "seriously maligned" by Fields.
Joy Villa, who is one of the few Trump supporters in the entertainment world, has remained steadfast in her support of him since he took office. After the Lewandowski allegations started making headlines, the singer tweeted that she was "in NO WAY" turning on or blaming the president for the incident, writing that she still supported Trump 100 percent.
Nevertheless, Villa has been chastised by Trump supporters who doubt the validity of her story. One Twitter user called her a "LIAR" and claimed she was being "used by the Democrats to infiltrate the Trump team to claim sexual assault," while another speculated that Villa was starting an attack on team MAGA. Perhaps the most notable individual to cast doubt on Villa's claims, though, was former Pussycat Dolls Singer Kaya Jones. While Jones expressed her support for Villa after her Grammys dress drew rebuke back in February, she tweeted a link to the Politico article with a one-word response to Villa's claims that Lewandowski had touched her without her consent: "seriously."
In a conversation with her Twitter followers, Jones wrote, "I'm over her sh*t," and noted that the two were close friends "until the lies started surfacing." As Jones' and some of the other responses to Villa's story have shown, some people will dismiss such misconduct allegations as a political attempt to bring down the president. But if 2017 taught us anything, it's that sexual misconduct allegations are a reality on both sides of the aisle, and Lewandowski's alleged inappropriate touching is, unfortunately, just one example of many.