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Singer claims Corey Lewandowski 'slapped her butt': Trump-supporter who wore a Make America Great Again dress to the Grammys says the former campaign manager hit on her at a holiday party held at one of The Donald's hotels

President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, has been accused of unwanted touching by a singer and longtime Trump supporter whose potential “MAGA”-inspired congressional bid in Florida has been endorsed by the president himself.

Joy Villa – who drew headlines for wearing a “Make America Great Again” dress to the Grammys earlier this year – was celebrating the president’s first year in office at a holiday party at the Trump International Hotel in Washington in late November when Lewandowski slapped her behind. After she objected, he dismissed her concerns and slapped her behind again, Villa said in an interview Friday.

Villa, 31, said she was circulating in the ballroom of the invite-only party with a friend, who brought her over to introduce her to Lewandowski, whom she had never met. Her first impression, she said, was that he seemed dismissive of her, and rolled his eyes when he thought she wanted to pose for a photo with him.

“I said, if you’re busy, don’t worry about it, we don’t have to take a photo,” Villa recalled telling Lewandowski, who remains close with the president and attended a contentious Oval Office meeting on political strategy earlier this week. But Villa said another reveler pushed her toward him and she ended up standing next to him and posing for a picture, despite his seeming lack of interest.

“I’m wearing this silver suit and stretchy pants, and after the photo, he smacks my ass really hard,” Villa said. “It was completely demeaning and shocking.”

In the moment, Villa said, she confronted him. “I said, ‘Watch it.’ Half-joking, I said, ‘I can report you for sexual harassment.’”

Lewandowski’s response, she said, was almost as shocking as the original slap.

“He said, ‘Go ahead, I work in the private sector,’” Villa recalled. “Then he smacks my ass again.” Villa’s recollection of the incident was corroborated by a friend who witnessed the exchange. The friend said he wished to remain anonymous, in part because of Lewandowski’s continued influence in Trump circles.

Lewandowski did not respond to multiple calls, emails and texts requesting a comment. POLITICO first reached out to Lewandowski Friday afternoon, and outlined for him the allegations made by Villa in the story. POLITICO also reached out to colleagues of Lewandowski’s and White House officials to explain the story and give Lewandowski an opportunity to respond.

Villa’s allegation against Lewandowski also comes at a moment when his star appears to be rising again with Trump. Earlier this week, after attending the meeting at the White House with the president, Lewandowski got in a yelling match with White House political director Bill Stepien about Trump’s political strategy for the 2018 midterm elections.

It also comes as his name has been floated as someone who could potentially enter the West Wing as a staffer after the new year—making him a target for his political foes, who are eager to stop him from finally getting the White House role he’s long craved. Lewandowski, who served as Trump’s original campaign manager, was fired ahead of the Republican National Convention in 2016, amid concerns from party leaders, donors and Trump’s own family members about a barebones campaign being led by someone with no experience managing a presidential race.

But Lewandowski never lost his close bond with Trump. Since the inauguration, Lewandowski has tried to capitalize on his close connection to the president and easy access to the Oval Office. He recently released a campaign memoir, with former deputy campaign manager David Bossie, entitled “Let Trump Be Trump.”

The November party, hosted by Trump’s campaign the week after Thanksgiving, was attended by people who had been part of the 2016 race. That included Jared Kushner and policy adviser Stephen Miller, family members Eric and Lara Trump, and the Trump-supporting comedy duo Diamond & Silk, according to multiple attendees. A campaign official confirmed both Lewandowski and Villa attended the party.

Villa said the whole incident with Lewandowski was over before she had a chance to collect her thoughts. “Corey laughed in my face and ran away,” she said. “It felt like it was all a big joke to him.”

“It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever experienced,” Villa added. “It was shocking and gross.” Villa said she had been enjoying herself at the party. But after the experience with Lewandowski, she said she felt deflated. “It was like my bubble burst,” she said. “It’s how every woman feels when she is sexually harassed.”

The next morning, she said, she called her friend to confirm her recollection of the interactions. He said to her that he had been as shocked as she was and still processing the ugly incident. He corroborated that account to POLITICO. Villa also told her husband about what had happened, she said.

Villa did not reach out to POLITICO, but agreed to tell her story on the record after another eyewitness described the incident to a reporter.

The singer has established her own relationships with key players in Trump’s inner circle. When Villa visited the White House earlier this year, Ivanka Trump posted a picture of the two of them together to her public Instagram account. The first daughter also encouraged her congressional bid at a Christmas party earlier this month, Villa said.

Villa, who has set up an exploratory committee for a congressional run in Congress last October, is being advised by another Trump loyalist, Roger Stone.

In October, Trump tweeted his support for her potential bid. “Good luck to @Joy_Villa on her decision to enter the wonderful world of politics,” the president tweeted on Oct. 20. “She has many fans!”

Villa said she hesitated to go public with her story in part because of Lewandowski’s prominence, especially in the wake of the publication this month of his memoir.

“I did feel that Corey could badmouth me,” she said. “I thought, ‘What if this messes up my chances.’ He has power and influence, and he’s close with the president, who just tweeted about his book. I wanted to play it safe and avoid the drama.”

But she said the avalanche of women coming forward to tell their stories about experiencing sexual harassment from powerful men in media, entertainment, politics and other industries motivated her to agree to talk to POLITICO.

Villa added that she hoped her decision to speak would help other women come forward if they experienced similar behavior.

It’s not the first time that Lewandowski’s behavior with women has come under scrutiny.

In March 2016, when Lewandowski was serving as Trump’s campaign manager, he was charged with simple battery after a reporter for Breitbart News, Michelle Fields, accused him of violently grabbing her arm at a campaign event. Fields claimed that she was knocked to the ground and left badly shaken by the event, and posted a picture of the bruises that she claimed Lewandowski’s grip left on her arm.

The charges against Lewandowski were eventually dropped.

Hope Hicks, who served as the campaign’s press secretary, defended Lewandowski to reporters after the incident, calling the accusation false, even though it was caught on camera.

Lewandowski also defended himself on Twitter, writing: “@MichelleFields you are totally delusional. I never touched you. As a matter of fact, I have never even met you.”

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