In his speech yesterday announcing Carly Fiorina as his vice presidential running mate, Ted Cruz said that his campaign presents Republican voters with “a choice, not an echo,” a line he lifted directly from legendary conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, who happens to be a prominent supporter of his GOP rival Donald Trump.
Schlafly, who is locked in a bitter war for control of her organization, Eagle Forum — a fight motivated in part by a split between Trump and Cruz supporters in the organization — told WorldNetDaily today that she didn’t like Cruz using her famous line.
“That’s my phrase, and Ted Cruz knows it,” Schlafly said. “But as far as I’m concerned, ‘a choice not an echo’ this year applies to Donald Trump, not Ted Cruz.”
In his Wednesday speech announcing Carly Fiorina would be his vice presidential candidate if he becomes the GOP nominee, Cruz said the American people wanted a president who could present “a choice, not an echo” in public policy.
The reference clearly was to Schlafly’s seminal 1964 book, “A Choice Not an Echo,” written to support the presidential candidacy of Sen. Barry Goldwater. “That’s my phrase, and Ted Cruz knows it,” Schlafly told WND. “But as far as I’m concerned, ‘a choice not an echo’ this year applies to Donald Trump, not Ted Cruz. Trump is the only one in the Republican Party who can take on the king-makers in the GOP leadership establishment.”
Schlafly is currently fighting a court battle with a group of dissidents on Eagle Forum’s board, led by her daughter, Anne Cori, whom she claims are trying to remove her from the organization she founded.
Cori and five other board members announced earlier this month that they had ousted Schlafly’s handpicked successor, Ed Martin, from his position leading the organization’s political wing. Martin, however, says that Schlafly was the real target of the coup, claiming that the dissidents — mostly Cruz supporters — are furious that Schlafly endorsed Trump.
Schlafly is upset that members of the dissident group delivered an endorsement of Cruz “in a way that made it look like it was Eagle Forum doing it” and gave Eagle Forum membership lists to the Cruz campaign.
Cori and her allies have filed a lawsuit against Martin and John Schlafly, Schlafly’s son and Cori’s brother, in order to gain control of Eagle Forum’s political division, insisting that a majority of board members have voted to remove Martin from his post.
The lawsuit alleges that Martin has been “posting on Facebook as Phyllis Schlafly” and “personally authored content which he has nonetheless styled as information from Phylis Schlafly.”
“John Schlafly denied Anne Schlafly Cori access to the Illinois Headquarters and prevented her from obtaining or inspecting Eagle Forum Property,” the suit continues. “When Anne Schlafly Cori insisted on her right to obtain and inspect Eagle Forum property, the Alton Police were called to remove Anne Schlafly Cori from the Illinois Headquarters.”
Meanwhile, Martin told WorldNetDaily that Cori and others did not show up to court, unlike “the iron lady” Schlafly.
“The iron lady of Eagle Forum sat there in the courtroom from 1:30 p.m. until 5 o’clock, as a thunderstorm went through, the power went out briefly; and the elevator in the building didn’t work when the hearing ended,” Martin said. “Phyllis walked down the stairs with the rest of us. Meanwhile, none of the six opposition board members showed up; only their three high-powered lawyers.”
He also said that Cori gave leaked Eagle Forum membership information to the Cruz campaign and that the senator’s campaign tried to contact the group’s South Dakota leader, Kitty Werthmann, to seek a personal endorsement.
The defendants’ attorneys further said that since January 2016, the plaintiffs “have endorsed and have sought to get other persons affiliated with Eagle Forum to endorse Ted Cruz in a letter that misleadingly suggests that Eagle Forum as an organization endorses Senator Cruz.”
Further, they alleged the six board members misappropriated Eagle Forum membership lists as well as contact information for leaders, volunteers and other followers in direct violation of an Eagle Forum policy that prohibits providing such lists to political campaigns.
According to affidavits submitted by the defendants, Cori allegedly handed over the Eagle Forum membership and leaders lists to the Cruz campaign, which used them to make marketing calls.
Martin, in his affidavit, noted Kitty Werthmann, the Eagle Forum state leader for South Dakota, made him aware that the Cruz campaign was contacting her by telephone, soliciting her personal information and endorsement, and urging Eagle Forum to endorse Cruz for president.
“Ms. Werthmann provided me the number from which the call had been made,” Martin said. “I then looked up that phone number and determined that it was registered to a company with the Cruz campaign.”
Tracing the information back through the Eagle Forum organization, Martin determined a contractor to the Eagle Forum Education Fund, who was a part-time employee of Cruz’s presidential campaign, had requested and obtained the Eagle Forum lists from Eagle Forum staff, following instructions by Anne Cori.
Jeff Roe, Cruz’s campaign manager, did not respond to a WND email request for comment.