It has been more than a decade since Philly gal Erin Elmore was fired from The Apprentice after openly flirting with Donald Trump and pissing off Trump aides Carolyn Kepcher and George Ross. Well, it seems that the Rittenhouse resident has worked her way back into Trump’s good graces.
She’s been stumping for Trump on cable news shows, even landing a one-on-one interview with Don Lemon on CNN, and she just scored a job as deputy press secretary for July’s Republican National Convention. We reached her on the phone in Cleveland to discuss.
I saw a report elsewhere stating that you’ve been hired as Donald Trump’s deputy press secretary, but that’s not quite right, is it?
No. There’s a Republican committee, there’s a convention, and there’s Donald Trump. There are a lot of different things and different messages that we have to bring together as one. I’m technically deputy press secretary for the convention itself.
But you’ve been on TV of late promoting and defending Trump. How did you get involved with his campaign?
Back when he first started dipping his toe in, I would get calls from CNN, Fox Business, Fox News and the like, and I did very well for these networks. I have political science, broadcast and law degrees. And I became what’s called a surrogate for Donald Trump, a spokesperson. As a surrogate, there are daily emails and conference calls with the campaign and then calls with Trump himself, and I would be going on the air like three, four or five times a week.
And now you’re working the convention.
I met David Urban along the way. He was Arlen Specter’s chief of staff, and you guys actually did an article about him. He’s an all-around great guy, which is basically what you guys said. And he liked me and recommended me for this position. After some writing samples and background checks, I landed in Cleveland.
From Rittenhouse Square to Cleveland. Hmmm.
I love going new places. I love Philly more than the day is long, but coming here and experiencing something so amazing as working on a press campaign, I love it. I’ve been working 12-hour days. It’s incredibly clean, beautifully landscaped. I left my family at home, and I haven’t been a bachelorette in four years, so I’m eating Chinese food in bed, a bed I don’t have to make the next day.
Earlier in Trump’s campaign, a lot of people took him as a joke candidate. What did you think way back then?
I wasn’t all that surprised that he was running. He said he had no idea he was gonna do this, but he’s done interviews over the years where he’s alluded to the fact that it was a job he could do. He had aspirations. And he beat off some serious people for this job. He beat out a Bush. Two members of that family had been in the White House. He made a huge impact. He’s made history.
In addition to the media criticism of Trump, some of his supporters also enjoy a fair amount of attention for their antics, whether they’re pushing people around or saying racist things. Do you worry that those supporters will be more of a detriment than anything else?
To be honest, I haven’t heard any criticism of his supporters. Well, maybe the media is making those comments, but his surrogate system is really tight. He has surrogates who are women. He has surrogates who are African-American. A lot of these people doing things at his rallies turned out to be Bernie folks.
You’re a smart, well-educated woman. Do you get flak for not getting behind Hillary Clinton?
Ninety-nine out of 100 people in my life have been supportive of this, because they have the ability to see past politics, and they are happy for me regardless of their views. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. People would kill for this job. But there are a handful of people who let their ideology get in the way of their judgment. Publicly, in the real world, I don’t think one has to be so political to not have joy and happiness.
We’ve heard a lot recently about Donald Trump banning certain reporters from prominent publications from his events. What gives?
I don’t know if I’m allowed to comment on that right now. I have to be very careful because of my role within the RNC.
What will you do when the convention is over and done with?
The last day is July 21st, and then I’m grabbing my son and husband and going to the beach in Montauk and turning my phone off for a couple of days.
Yeah, right. Good luck with that.
[Laughs] I have two of them now — a government phone and my personal one. We’re going to have a nice long weekend.
But what about after that? What’s your next move?
I hope to find myself in the White House. That is the endgame.