- Mercedes and Matt Schlapp, longtime conservative operatives and Washington’s most prominent Trump-boosting power couple, are critics of the “out of touch leftist media elite.”
- But the Washington “it couple” are themselves wealthy and powerful members of DC’s conservative inner circle.
- The two are facing backlash for what many consider their hypocritical response to media criticism of the president and his administration.
Mercedes and Matt Schlapp, longtime Republican operatives and one of Washington’s most powerful Trump-boosting couples, drew attention over the weekend when they derided comedian Michelle Wolf’s controversial speech criticising the president and his administration at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
“It’s why America hates the out of touch leftist media elite,” tweeted Mercedes, the White House director of strategic communications.
But as Mercedes sent her tweet, she and her husband were sitting in a limousine en route from the dinner to an exclusive media-sponsored after-party, according to a New York Times profile published Tuesday.
“The curious case of the inconsistently delicate Matt Schlapp, who defended the Access Hollywood video and wants Michael Steele to shrug off a racist attack but is scandalized by a comedian, and ‘Mercedes,’ who tweets about liberal elites from a limo headed to an MSNBC after party,” tweetedWalter Shaub, the former director of the US Office of Government Ethics.
Asked by The Times about the couple’s membership in the Washington elite, Matt said, “I mean, I’m not trying to act like I’m driving a garbage truck in Des Moines.”
Indeed, the couple is far from working class and have deep roots in Washington politics.
Matt has spent decades in the most powerful conservative circles, serving as former President George W. Bush’s political director and a top lobbyist for Koch Industries before taking over leadership of the American Conservative Union, a powerful Washington lobbying group, in 2015.
At the White House, Schlapp likely earns the maximum salary of $US179,700, which her predecessor, Hope Hicks, earned in the position, according to a July 2017 White House report. Mercedes also served in the Bush White House and as a board member, and in her position as a strategic communications consultant for the National Rifle Association, she earned $US60,000 for an average of one hour of work per week in 2015, and $US45,000 in 2016, The Times reported.
The couple, who recently purchased a $US3 million home in Alexandria, Virginia where they live with their five daughters, also run a lobbying and public relations firm, Cove Strategies, which they founded in 2009. The firm’s business has boomed in the Trump era with profits rising from $US600,000 to over $US1 million between 2015 and 2017. (Mercedes has paused her work with the firm since she took on her White House role last fall).
And now the two are some of President Donald Trump’s most powerful supporters and surrogates in Washington, and rumours abound that Mercedes may be the next White House communications director.
“When I watch them on television defending me, nobody has a chance,” Trump said of the couple in his 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference speech.
But they do manage to get out of Washington sometimes, spending weekends at their 30-acre retreat, Victory Farm, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Times reported.
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