This post has been updated.
Over the weekend, Eagle Forum president Ed Martin emailed the group’s members about a recently uncovered “scheme to push Phyllis Schlafly out of Eagle Forum.”
Schlafly, the nonagenarian conservative icon who is best known for her role in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), founded and chairs Eagle Forum, which opposes not only feminism but also LGBT equality, immigration reform and vaccines.
Last month, Schlafly introduced and endorsed Donald Trump at a rally in St. Louis, two months after many state and local Eagle Forum leaders had announced their support for Ted Cruz.
One of the Cruz supporters, Cathie Adams of Texas Eagle Forum, delivered a low blow to Schlafly after her campaign stop with Trump, speculating that Schlafly’s age had allowed her to be manipulated into the endorsement. “At 91, it is just totally unfair to impose upon someone who has such a beautiful legacy … I think this was very much a manipulation,” Adams said. “When you’re 91 and you’re not out with the grass roots all the time, it is very much taking advantage of someone.”
This obviously did not sit well with the national organization. In Martin’s email this weekend, he said that Adams was part of a “Gang of 6” seeking to oust Schlafly from the group she founded.
Five of the “Gang of 6” have publicly endorsed Cruz. The group includes Adams and even Schlafly’s own daughter, Anne Cori.
The others are Eunie Smith, Shirley Curry, Carolyn McLarty and Rosina Kovar, who in 2011 won internet fame for her unintentionally hilarious screed about anal sex.
The Missouri Eagle Forum said that “Phyllis Schlafy’s endorsement of Trump is a likely catalyst” of the “upcoming hostile takeover of Eagle Forum’s board and its assets.”
The email from Martin, however, does not mention the Cruz-Trump split, although he does mention that Adams “disparaged and insulted Phyllis.” Instead, he says that the “Gang of 6” are moving against Schlafly because of her opposition to holding a new constitutional convention.
Several conservative activists such as radio host Mark Levin and homeschooling activist Michael Farris have called for a convention of states in order to amend the U.S. Constitution with a litany of right-wing items. Schlafly, however, has repeatedly said that there would be no way to limit a constitutional convention to just advancing conservative causes like a Balanced Budget Amendment, warning that liberal activists could use it to ratify proposed amendments like the ERA.
“The rogue members have a hidden agenda, and most refused to return phone calls personally made to them by Phyllis to ask what their concerns are,” Martin wrote. “They are being guided by a big, liberal law firm that they refuse to identify (but the press has identified). They also refuse to say who is funding the high paid liberal lawyers.”
Schlafly herself wrote to members about what she called “the hostile takeover of Eagle Forum,” writing that for “reasons that are not entirely clear to me, some people have been working to attack me and Eagle Forum. My disappointment is compounded by the fact that these are people with whom I have worked closely in the past. I have asked them to resign from the Board immediately so that we may continue our important work.”
In a letter addressed to the so-called “Gang of 6,” Schlafly said that while she has “fond memories of our work together and our friendships,” she has asked them to “resign immediately” from the group’s board.
“[T]his morning Eunie said that this is about my judgment on personnel,” she said. “I don’t know what is the true plan but I believe it is an attack on me and my work.”
Martin added: “Phyllis has always stood up to bullies wherever they are found: the Soviets, the feminists, liberals of every stripe, and those who would undermine Phyllis’ successful leadership of Eagle Forum.”
UPDATE: In an interview with WorldNetDaily, Schlafly said that the attempt to remove her from Eagle Forum was, at least in part, a result of her Trump endorsement and that “the leader of the coup is my daughter Anne Cori and her husband at Eagle Forum Missouri.”
Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly confirmed to WND that six board members of her group Eagle Forum have called a special meeting Monday that she believes is an attempt to remove her as CEO because of her support for Donald Trump’s campaign for the White House.
“This may be my Dobson moment,” Schlafly told WND, referring to the 2010 board vote that forced James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, to discontinue his popular national radio show.
“The six board members calling today’s telephone meeting won’t tell me what the meeting is about, but I think it’s an attempt to vote me out,” Schlafly said. “It’s disloyal and it’s terribly shocking, and I’m completely depressed about it.
“I may be one vote short to win today,” she conceded.
“This is a complete takeover attempt,” she said.
“I think the leader of the coup is my daughter Anne Cori and her husband at Eagle Forum of Missouri,” Schlafly said. “I think she and her husband want to take over the organization.”
Her son John Schlafly, the treasurer of Eagle Forum and a board member, explained to WND that among the six board members calling the meeting are several “who feel Donald Trump is unacceptable as the GOP presidential candidate in 2016.”
“Cathie gave this very disparaging interview to the press,” Phyllis explained to WND. “It was a very offensive interview about me. She finally called to apologize, but she didn’t retract anything she told the Dallas Morning News.”
Schlafly maintained that Cathie was one of the “ringleaders” of the six dissident board members seeking her ouster.
Adams, in an interview with WND, denied her goal was to take over the organization or remove Schlafly from heading the organization she founded.
“The six board members calling the meeting are among the most loyal to Phyllis,” Adams insisted. “Together we have over 200 years combined service to Eagle Forum among the six of us.”
Adams said the six disgruntled board members were angry at the management style of Ed Martin, a social conservative from Missouri who has served as a member of the Republican National Committee.