HOW Nigel Farage & His Rag Tag Rabble Met POTUS Elect Donald Trump!
Posted by Greg Lance - Watkins (Greg_L-W) on 14/11/2016
Greg Lance – Watkins
is what gives the remaining 10% a bad name!
a fortuitous selfie on which a sales rep can build a sales pitch:
Your gold door’s worth more than my house! The riotous inside story of Farage and his Ukip posse’s astonishing coup as he became the first foreign politician to meet President-elect Trump
- Nigel Farage has become first UK politician to meet the president-elect
- Ukip leader visited Trump Tower penthouse with key Brexiteer allies
- Selfie of British quartet outside the opulent residence tagged ‘Brex Pistols’
PUBLISHED: 00:02, 14 November 2016 | UPDATED: 11:12, 14 November 2016
Standing outside the breath-takingly opulent gold-and-diamond front door of the £80million penthouse in Trump Tower, New York, the British quartet – Ukip donor Arron Banks, Mr Farage, Leave.EU communications chief Andy Wigmore and former Ukip aide Raheem Kassam – look on top of the world.
And they have even given their gang a nickname – the ‘Brex pistols’.
The sight of Mr Farage’s beaming visage alongside Mr Trump has caused consternation not just in Downing Street but in capitals throughout the EU.
Theresa May has had to be content with a mere telephone call from Trump – and even then she had to wait until nine other countries’ leaders were called, although at least she was ahead of Germany and France.
Nigel Farage (pictured centre with Donald Trump) met the president-elect in his Trump Tower penthouse with Ukip donor Arron Banks (second from left), Leave.EU communications chief Andy Wigmore (second from right) and former Ukip aide Raheem Kassam (right). Mr Trump’s pollster Gerry Gunster (pictured left) helped with the Brexit campaign and also joined the gathering on Saturday night in New York
In contrast, Farage was given a tour of new leader of the free world’s New York home with its floor-to-ceiling marble, gilded columns and pilasters, its gaudy crystal chandeliers dripping with gilt, and a huge fresco depicting the Greek god Apollo crossing the heavens in his chariot.
Farage and four of his close allies from the referendum campaign were mesmerised by the lavish surroundings they found themselves in – a Renoir on the wall was ‘magnificent’, commented one of them, while the bronze classical statue of Eros and Psyche was ‘striking’ and the views overlooking Central Park were the best in New York.
Trump enlisted Farage’s help during the campaign because, like him, Farage was a political outsider – and had stunned the political establishment over Brexit.Farage spoke at a political rally in Mississippi for Trump in August, and Trump had famously issued that clarion cry: ‘It’s gonna be Brexit plus, plus, plus!’
The invitation for Farage to join Trump in New York came in the early hours of Wednesday when it was clear Hillary Clinton was heading for a shock defeat. It was offered by Steve Bannon, chief executive of the Trump campaign, who has been hotly tipped to play a key role at the White House.
Farage was already in the US because he had been making a speech in Florida and was scheduled to appear on chat shows. Arriving at Trump Tower on Saturday, he had expected to have talks with some of the victorious campaign team, and perhaps come back for a brief chat with Trump the following day, the president-elect’s diary permitting.
A selfie taken outside Trump Tower and posted on Twitter shows (left to right) Mr Kassam, Mr Banks, Mr Farage and Mr Wigmore. Mr Kassam tagged it ‘The Brex Pistols’
But that was not what took place at all. Farage and his party’s visit coincided with an anti-Trump protest of 30,000 people outside Trump Tower – and a nervous US Secret Service ordered the building to be ‘locked down’. No one was allowed in or out for four-and-a-half hours.
At one point, Farage and his team ventured on to a 21st-floor balcony for a cigarette, looking down on the milling mob of protesters. Security ordered them in, fearing they could be a target for snipers.
It was as he was drinking coffee with Bannon that Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway walked past. She stopped in her tracks when she saw Farage, whose performances in Mississippi and on TV had gained him notoriety among the Trump team.
Conway – tipped to be White House Press secretary – embraced Farage and said simply: ‘Let’s go and see the president. He wants to see you.’
They took two escalators to reach the penthouse then Farage and his party were ushered in around 4pm. They left about an hour later – having organised selfies in front of Trump’s gold-and-diamond door.
A triumphant Nigel Farage is relishing becoming the first foreign party leader to meet president-elect Donald Trump
‘It’s real gold, you know,’ they were told. ‘And worth more than my house,’ quipped one of them, a multi-millionaire, in return.
After the Brexit result, this was the coup of Farage’s life. So how did the 52-year-old, who has failed seven times to be elected to the Commons, manage it? He beat not only prime ministers and presidents but also many senior Republicans in the race to break bread with the man who, in two months’ time, will be the most powerful on the planet.
The key lies not just with larger-than-life Farage, whose friendship with Trump was formed in the heat of battle on the campaign trail in Mississippi. But also with the four others who posed outside the apartment door. Each had a role to play.Nigel Farage vows to help the UK government ‘get on with Trump’
Theresa May has had to be content with a mere telephone call from Trump
Businessman Arron Banks, 50, is a former Tory donor who switched sides to Ukip in October 2014.
He had been planning to give the party £100,000 as an introductory gift, but upped the donation to £1million when former Tory leader William Hague condescendingly claimed he had never heard of Banks. It was a serious error by Hague. Banks, who made his fortune in insurance and owns diamond mines in South Africa, became utterly committed to the Brexit campaign.
He wanted not only to secure an exit from the EU but also to humiliate David Cameron and the Tory high command – especially after they embarked on Project Fear.
He put £6.5million of his own fortune into the campaign for Brexit and recruited other rich businessmen to his Leave.EU cause.
One key appointment by Banks was Gerry Gunster, a Washington political strategist, who has worked on dozens of referendums in the US and boasts a 90 per cent success rate. On joining Leave.EU, Gunster advised making immigration a priority and targeting disaffected white voters who feared for their jobs and had seen wages driven down by EU migrants.
Crucially, Gunster knew leading figures in the Trump campaign and was at Trump Tower with Farage at the weekend. He was stood on the far left of the group picture.
Mr Kassam last month quit the Ukip leadership contest after it emerged he had posted offensive misogynistic messages about rivals on social media.
The 30-year-old has been London editor-in-chief of US news website and radio station Breitbart since May last year. He was chief adviser to Farage in the run-up to the last general election, in which the party received 4million votes and pushed the Lib Dems into fourth place.
It just so happens that Steve Bannon – the senior Trump aide who invited them to New York in the first place – is the most powerful figure at Breitbart in the US. And it was Breitbart that helped expose the recent sexting scandal involving the husband of a key Clinton aide, Huma Abedin – which Hillary Clinton blamed this weekend for her defeat.Nigel Farage avoids questions as he enters Trump Tower
Farage was already in the US because he had been making a speech in Florida
Kassam’s misogynist leanings have an echo in Trump, of course. He had to apologise to Suzanne Evans, who is running for the Ukip leadership, after describing her as a ‘wrinkly old ginger bird’. He once called for SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s legs to be ‘taped together’ so she could not ‘reproduce’.
Another gold-plated connection came through 50-year-old Mr Wigmore. A businessman who works closely with Banks, he is a diplomat with the Belize High Commission in London working in trade and industry.
His pedigree includes running his own media company, a stint as a TV reporter, and working in the presentation department of Conservative central office.
Like Banks he became disillusioned with the Tories over their EU policies. More than ten years ago he successfully sued former justice secretary Michael Gove over allegations about his private life. Gove paid £10,000 in damages.
After the Republican Convention in July, when Trump was endorsed as candidate, the hard-drinking Wigmore and Farage were celebrating in a bar in Ohio late at night.
Wigmore introduced Farage to staff of Mississippi governor Phil Bryant, one of the few Republicans publicly backing Trump. They got on so well they were invited to meet Bryant the following month.
Four weeks later Farage, Banks, and Wigmore met at Heathrow to fly to the US. They downed three ‘cappuccino martinis’, one of Farage’s favourite drinks.
On the plane they got through four bottles of red wine.
They were picked up in a blacked-out limousine with security staff and whisked off to meet Bryant and his wife Deborah at their colonial-style mansion.
In the car an aide of the governor talked Farage through the schedule, which included an interview on Mississippi’s main radio station, a visit to the Mississippi government headquarters, lunch with supporters and a speech at a private fundraising event with Trump and his backers. It was to be billed ‘Mr Brexit meets Mr Trump’.
In his book The Bad Boys Of Brexit, Banks reveals Farage dominated the fundraiser. ‘The guests could not get enough of Nigel’s 25-year battle against the EU and victory in the referendum.’
Farage’s speech was given a standing ovation. Banks’ book says: ‘Trump called Farage back on stage and showered him with plaudits and drew parallels between the Brexit campaign and his own.’
Farage was given a tour of new leader of the free world’s New York home with its floor-to-ceiling marble, gilded columns and pilasters
Trump then got Farage to speak at an event in front of a crowd of 15,000 people later that same day. Trump dropped the former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who had initially been scheduled to make the speech.
Farage duly whipped the crowd into a frenzy when he said Trump could – and would – win. ‘You can beat the pollsters in this presidential race. We did it with Brexit. You can do the same.
‘If I was an American citizen I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me. In fact, I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if she paid me.’
The crowd went wild. Trump loved it. After the speech, as Trump was heading to his private jet for the next leg of his exhausting election tour, he saw Farage, Banks and Wigmore and said: ‘Those boys look like trouble.’
Back in Britain, Farage was publicly criticised by senior Ukip figures for embracing Trump. They feared that it would damage the Ukip brand and they criticised him for becoming involved in an overseas election.
Farage told me last night: ‘Anyone who knows Donald Trump says he is very loyal to people who have been loyal to him. Trump knew members of my own party turned against me.
‘He appreciated what I had done. Meeting with us on Saturday was payback.
‘As for my own role, I would say that some of the noises about Trump coming out from the children advising Theresa May are so juvenile. Downing Street should be having a constructive conversation. If I can help that I will.’
After Farage’s success in Mississippi, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway studied details of all the private polling in the referendum.
They talked to Gerry Gunster. They finessed their message about the impact of immigration on jobs and ruthlessly targeted white working-class voters who had traditionally voted Democrat.
They also closely studied Farage speeches and interviews, deciding to make a virtue of Trump being despised by the establishment of the Republican Party.
As the Clinton camp wheeled out ever more celebrities – from Madonna to Bruce Springsteen – Farage and Banks told Trump to boast about the fact they were ‘fighting on their own against the rest’. Banks, who is now considering severing his Ukip funding, said that, whatever Downing Street decides about Farage, he will be a player.
‘Trump and Farage are both charismatic. He can talk to Farage knowing they are not rivals but have the same outlook. It’s why he called himself the Brexit president. When we walked into the penthouse one of the first things Trump said was: “Do you think my win is as big as Brexit?”
‘Farage replied: “Brexit was the first brick in the wall. Your victory is massive.”’
Farage joked this week about the prospect of a job with Trump: ‘If he did offer me something I would quite like to be his ambassador to the European Union. I think I would do that job very well.’
After Saturday’s encounter, it might be a more serious proposition than anyone thought.
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This entry was posted on 14/11/2016 at 20:46 and is filed under EU, EUkip, UKIP. Tagged: Andy Wigmore, Arron Banks, Donald Trump, Gerry Gunster, Kellyanne Conway, Nigel Farage, Raheem Kassan, Steve Bannon. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.