Married Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has engaged in a years-long affair with longtime Donald Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski, multiple sources revealed on Friday.
Though no images of the two getting frisky are known to exist, the pair have been less than discreet about their relationship, with one source recalling them making out at a hotel bar during the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla.
“I remember it was so absurdly blatant and public,” said the person, who recalled Noem and Lewandowski getting “handsy” at the bar of the Hyatt Regency Orlando with between 100 and 200 others around.
“It wasn’t like 2 a.m.,” the source said. “It isn’t like we caught them at some dive bar miles away. It’s a lobby bar where everyone is staying and so there’s a bajillion political operatives and journalists and electeds around. I remember I saw it with my own eyes and a couple other people saw it and the blatantness was absurd.”
“This has been a known, open thing and we’ve all been waiting for it to blow up at some point,” the person added.
The liaison emerged one week after Noem, a 51-year-old mom of three, formally endorsed Trump, 77, for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, raising the pitch of speculation that the 45th president would pick her as his running mate.
“He’s 100% banging her,” said a second person familiar with the relationship between Noem and Lewandowski, first reported by DailyMail.com.
The source added that they personally witnessed Noem “sitting on his [Lewandowski’s] lap” and “playing grab-ass” during an event at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in December 2020.
“The usual stuff that drunk people who are having affairs do,” the person said of the interaction.
Another person who saw the pair at Mar-a-Lago on the same occasion confirmed, “I saw her on his lap.”
“I thought they were a couple. They were all over each other,” added this source, who had met Lewandowski before, but was unacquainted with Noem — whom the witness recalled as otherwise “so beautiful” and “poised.”
A fourth source told The Post the dalliance has been widely known in Republican political circles for “years,” adding that Noem’s husband Bryon is said to have moved out of the governor’s mansion in Pierre roughly two years ago.\’Bryon Noem runs an eponymous insurance company in Bryant, SD, a couple hours’ drive from the state capital. Details of his current living arrangements are unclear.
A fifth person told The Post that he and fellow GOP operatives were “well aware” of the fling and suggested the story finally appeared in print thanks to “one of her competitors for VP.”
Both Trump and political pundits have publicly mused for months about potential running mates, with some of the names mentioned including Noem, former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), former ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell, House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY), current GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, and hard-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).
Noem herself was once considered a potential 2024 contender but opted not to enter the race, telling Fox News last month that no Republican could win the nomination as long as Trump was running.
“Why run if you can’t win?” she asked.
On Sept. 8, Noem announced at a rally in Rapid City that she was backing Trump, calling him “the fighter that our country needs.”
“You made America great again once, let’s do it again,” Noem said while introducing the former president.
“I will do everything I can to help him win and save this country.”
Lewandowski, 49, was Trump’s first 2016 campaign manager and widely credited with engineering his victory in the 2016 New Hampshire primary, which bolstered the real estate mogul after a loss to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the Iowa caucuses.
However, Lewandowski’s star began to fade after he was accused of manhandling Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields following a Trump press conference in March 2016.
He was charged with one count of simple battery, which was later dropped.
Lewandowski was dismissed from the Trump campaign three months later, following reported clashes with then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
However, the Massachusetts native remained close to Trump while a private citizen. According to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation, Trump summoned Lewandowski to the Oval Office on June 19, 2017, and ordered him to tell then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to both make a public statement criticizing the probe and direct Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to future foreign interference in US elections.
Lewandowski arranged a meeting with Sessions, but the AG canceled due to a last-minute conflict. The following month, Trump summoned Lewandowski again and told him that if Sessions did not agree to meet, Lewandowski should tell Sessions he was fired. Lewandowski passed the order to then-White House deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn, who pocketed it and did not deliver it to Sessions.
The former campaign operative has been married since 2005 to wife Allison Hardy, but has been accused of numerous affairs and acting inappropriately with high-profile women in the Trump orbit.
In November 2017, pro-Trump singer Joy Villa said Lewandowski had slapped her backside “really hard” at a holiday party. When Villa told him to keep his hands to himself, Lewandowski reportedly told her, “Go ahead, I work in the private sector” — then smacked her butt again.
“It was completely demeaning and shocking,” Villa told Politico at the time.
Lewandowski also reportedly engaged in an on-again, off-again relationship with then-White House communications director Hope Hicks.
In 2021, he was removed as chairman of the pro-Trump Make America Great Again Action super PAC after the wife of a major donor to the former president accused him of inappropriate behavior.
Trashelle Odom told Las Vegas police that Lewandowski asked for her hotel room number and made inappropriate comments about his genitals. At one point in their conversation, Odom told Lewandowski she was from a “bad area” in California.
“That is when Lewandowski told me that he ‘was from a bad part of Boston and have [sic] killed people,’” Odom told the cops. “I initially believed that he was joking and attempted to laugh it off. That is when Lewandowski went into detail and stated something to the effect of, ‘When I was 10, I stabbed someone over and over again, killing him.’ He continued and shared that when he was older he ‘stabbed a man in the back of the head, also killing him.’”
Noem also publicly announced that she was cutting ties with Lewandowski, whom her office called a “volunteer” adviser. However, DailyMail.com reported that statement was more show than substance.
“She fired him without really firing him,” one source told the outlet.
“He never left.”
Lewandowski declined to comment on the record for this story.
A Noem spokesman directed The Post to a statement given to DailyMail.com, which began: “This is so predictable that you would attack Governor Noem less than a week after she endorsed Donald J. Trump as the 47th President of the United States.”
“As Governor Noem said during that endorsement speech: ‘Yes, I will be attacked for speaking the truth to all of you tonight. Yes, I expect Joe Biden, these candidates, their political operatives, and the media will perpetuate ugly, hateful misinformation in an attempt to destroy me and my family because of my opinions. It’s nothing new. I’m getting used to it, honestly.’”