“A friend of mine for many years. Solid. Smart. Loves politics, knows how to win,” Trump told The Washington Post. Bossie participated Thursday in strategy sessions at Trump Tower where he was introduced to campaign aides and Trump associates, according to Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
Conway said Bossie would be assisting her with managing day-to-day operations and with strategic planning. “He’s a battle-tested warrior and a brilliant strategist,” Conway said. “He’s a nuts-and-bolts tactician as well, who’s going to help us fully integrate our ground game and data operations, and help with overall strategy as my deputy.”
Bossie will also work on crafting attacks against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, mining past controversies involving her and former president Bill Clinton, and cultivating Trump’s bond with conservative activists.
Democrats were sharply critical of Bossie, who has been running Citizens United, a conservative advocacy group. “This is the latest sign that Donald Trump has put the most extreme elements of the right-wing fringe in the driver’s seat of his campaign,” said the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, John Podesta. “He has devoted his career ever since to trying to tear down Hillary Clinton. For months now, Citizens United has been acting as an arm of the Trump campaign, and this hiring of Bossie now makes it official.”
Bossie has worked with Trump’s team in prior political campaigns. According to The Washington Post, he is a friend of [campaign CEO Steve] Bannon and Conway whose political projects have often overlapped with his own. He is close to the secretive Mercer family, who have funded his organizations and been major backers of Trump’s candidacy.
That leaves three Mercer allies — Bannon, Conway and Bossie — atop the Trump campaign. Hedge-fund investor Robert L. Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, were key players in urging Trump to reshuffle his campaign this summer. Casino magnate Steve Wynn, an influential Trump ally, is also a friend of Bossie’s.
Bossie will take a leave of absence from Citizens United for the duration of the campaign. And he has left the “Defeat Crooked Hillary” super PAC, which he had been running since June.
Bossie has written numerous articles for Breitbart News. He helped build opposition to House Speaker John Boehner, he opposed amnesties for migrants, he pushed Republicans to develop a replacement for Obamacare, he has campaigned for religious liberty, and he defended Americans’ free speech by winning the Citizens United case at the Supreme Court.
During that Citizens United debate, a top lawyer working for President Barack Obama claimed legislators have the constitutional power to stop publication of books and movies that are critical of politicians. The court fight began when Bossie defended his constitutional right to produce a 2008 movie critical of the Clintons, titled “Hillary, the Movie.”
“Since the Citizens United decision there is more free speech in America — and, importantly, no evidence that corporations have been able to buy an election,” Bossie wrote in 2016. “In fact, the candidates with the biggest super-PAC war chests have often lost. Jeb Bush, who spent more than $100 million before dropping out of the Republican primary on Feb. 20, is just the most recent example.”
Bossie also produced a movie about the Democrat-backed “Occupy” movement, which was active in 2012. The movie is “Occupy Unmasked.”
In 2007, my organization produced a documentary called “Hillary: The Movie” and tried to put it on TV. The name of our nonprofit? Citizens United. Our name, of course, has become synonymous with the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that followed in 2010.
To me, however, the decision represented — then and now — a sweeping victory against government censorship of free speech, especially political speech. Simply put, since the Citizens United decision there is more free speech in America -- and, importantly, no evidence that corporations have been able to buy an election.
People upset by the repercussions of Citizens United might blame me, or maybe Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion. But they should turn their gaze to filmmaker Michael Moore. In June 2004 — a presidential election year — he released “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
That documentary — produced and promoted with corporate money — made a tremendous impact in the run-up to election day. TV was filled with ads for the film, which made President George W. Bush look ridiculous in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. That inspired me to produce conservative films.
But when I made “Hillary: The Movie” in 2008, the Federal Election Commission argued that, unlike Moore's film, it was a form of “electioneering” and that I couldn't show it during an election season— the very time that free speech matters most. Under the McCain-Feingold campaign finance laws, the government could actually have thrown me in jail for showing “Hillary: The Movie” or its promotional ads on television.
Our case focused narrowly on making “Hillary: The Movie” available as video-on-demand. But the justices rightly looked at the bigger picture. If federal election laws could be used to prevent my nonprofit organization from advertising or distributing our movie, what was to prevent other forms of speech with corporate ties — books from publishing houses, DVDs from film studios — from being limited during an election cycle if they mentioned or favored a political candidate?
It's worth remembering that during the first round of oral arguments, Deputy U.S. Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart asserted that McCain-Feingold's limitations “could have been applied to additional media as well.” Under that kind of broad interpretation of the law, Michael Bay's “13 Hours” about the debacle in Benghazi, Libya, or Johnny Depp's “Funny or Die Presents Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal: The Movie” also could have been challenged for violating corporate political spending during an election season.
On Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” former CBS anchor Dan Rather stated David Bossie’s appointment as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s Deputy Campaign Manager “has to be a great concern for the Clinton camp.”