A top-level administrator at one of the largest universities in the world rigged online polls to promote Donald Trump as a great businessman. These polls were used to puff Trump in preparation for his presidential run. Cohen paid John Gauger, Liberty University’s Chief Information Officer, to manipulate the polls in Trump’s favor. Gauger claims that Cohen paid him between $12K and $13K in a blue Walmart bag. (Cohen claims he paid with a check, but that’s not really the point here). Cohen says that Donald Trump directed him to find someone who could rig the polls.
Lindsay Ellis of The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:
President Trump’s former top lawyer paid Liberty University’s chief information officer to manipulate online polls in an effort to raise Trump’s profile before his successful presidential campaign, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The news shows a deeper relationship than previously reported between the president and employees of the university, a private Christian institution located in Virginia and led by Jerry L. Falwell Jr., a prominent Trump ally.
The Liberty technology administrator, John Gauger, also created a Twitter account, @WomenForCohen, to promote the president’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, according to the Journal. “Strong, pit bull, sex symbol, no nonsense, business oriented, and ready to make a difference,” the account’s description read on Thursday.
In one post reviewed by The Chronicle, the @WomenForCohen account shared a photo of Cohen, Falwell, and his wife. “Love to see good #Christian people on board the #TrumpTrain #Liberty #Trump2016,” the account wrote. The Journal reported that a female friend of Gauger operated the @WomenForCohen account.
Gauger told the Journal he had been paid by Cohen with a blue Walmart bag filled with $12,000 to $13,000 in cash, as well as a boxing glove once used by a Brazilian athlete. Cohen disputed that characterization, telling the Journal that Gauger had been paid by check, not cash.
Those previously unreported connections are the latest in a longstanding series of ties between Trump and Liberty. Trump has delivered multiple speeches at Liberty in recent years, including at a 2017 commencement. An administrator and Liberty students also produced a film about a former firefighter who said he had heard God say that Trump would be the next president.
Read the entire piece here.
Jerry Falwell Jr, the president of Liberty University and a prominent court evangelical, said that he knew Gauger was working for Trump, but claims he did not know the nature of the work. Frankly, I find the latter claim hard to believe. When it comes to Trump, Falwell seems to know just about everything that happens on his campus. He refused to allow the student newspaper to run an anti-Trump story. He prevented anti-Trumper Shane Claiborne and others from coming on campus to pray. And he forced an anti-Trump member of the Board of Trustees (and longtime Falwell family friend) to resign. Falwell is thorough. How could he have missed the fact that one of his administrators was rigging polls to try to manipulate the American public on behalf of the man who Falwell has described as the evangelical “dream president.”
When I read this story I decided to take a look at Gauger’s @womenforcohen Twitter account. The tweets reveal that this Liberty University employee got into political bed with Michael Cohen and, by extension, Donald Trump. As I argued in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, this is what happens when you get too close to political power As you read these tweets, please recall that Cohen is going to jail for violation of campaign finance laws and the person responsible for the tweets is a senior administrator at Liberty.