Pierson in 2011
Katrina Lanette Shaddix|
July 20, 1976
Katrina Lanette Pierson (née Shaddix; born July 20, 1976[a]) is an American Tea Party activist and communications consultant. She was the national spokesperson for the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign, and was regular CNN contributor during the campaign.
Pierson was born in Kansas, to a white mother and a black father. Her mother, who gave birth to her at age 15, initially gave her up for adoption, but later changed her mind. She grew up with her mother, in poverty.
In 1997, at the age of 20, Pierson was arrested for shoplifting, to which she pleaded no contest, received deferred adjudication, and, ultimately, a dismissal with the case sealed. She reportedly took $168 in merchandise from a J. C. Penney store in Plano, Texas, and had her then three-month old son with her at the time of the incident. Pierson told authorities she needed the clothes for job interviews. She has said that the incident helped her turn her life around, showing her that mistakes often come with consequences.
Pierson worked for InVentiv Health in 2008; the Baylor Health Care System from July 2009 to August 2011, as a practice administrator; for ASG Software Solutions, as the director of corporate affairs, from May 2011 to December 2012; and then in a variety of jobs until being hired by the Trump campaign. In 2013, she received $11,000 in unemployment benefits from the Texas Workforce Commission.
Early political work
Pierson voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, and has listed Malcolm X as her political idol, stating that Martin Luther King, Jr. was "too moderate". However, Pierson began shifting rightward when Obama refused to wear an American flag on his lapel. She became an activist in the Tea Party movement in 2009. Speaking in April 2009 at a Dallas Tea Party event, she called for Texas to secede from the U.S. She founded a local Tea Party group in Garland, Texas. In 2012, Pierson actively supported Ted Cruz in the 2012 Senate race in Texas and appeared on stage with him on election night in November.
2014 Texas Congressional race
In the 2014 Texas congressional elections, Pierson challenged incumbent congressman Pete Sessions in the Republican primary to represent Texas' 32nd district. Her candidacy was endorsed by Rafael Cruz and by Sarah Palin, who called her "a feisty fighter for freedom." While U.S. senator Ted Cruz offered praise, calling her an "utterly fearless principled conservative," he stopped short of an endorsement.
In January 2014, Pierson broadcast a campaign ad in which she quipped "President Obama says ‘I wouldn’t let my son play pro football.’ That’s weird. I wouldn’t let my son add $7 trillion to the national debt." The Independent Journal Review dubbed it "one of the sassiest ads ever."
By mid-February 2014, Pierson had received only $76,000 in campaign contributions; Sessions had received almost twenty times more. In the March primary, Pierson received 36 percent of the vote, losing to Sessions, who received 63 percent. Pierson went on to become spokesperson for the Tea Party leadership fund.[when?]
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2017)
In January 2015, Pierson attended a meeting for Tea Party activists in Myrtle Beach with Ted Cruz. While in Myrtle Beach, she also met with Donald Trump. After meeting with Trump or his aides a few more times, Pierson introduced Trump at a campaign rally held in Dallas in September. In November 2015 she was hired as the national spokesperson for Trump's campaign, subsequently appearing frequently on television in that capacity, often being seen as one of Trump's staunchest defenders amidst controversial comments.
Post 2016 election
After the 2016 election, Pierson turned down an administration position as Deputy Press Secretary, and instead worked at America First Policies, a pro-Trump 501(c)(4) group. In March 2018, the Trump 2020 campaign hired Pierson as a senior adviser.
- Jeffers Jr., Gromer (February 17, 2014). "Pete Sessions Rival Katrina Pierson Says '97 Shoplifting Charge Helped Turn Her Life Around". Politics. The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on August 19, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
- Meghan (February 12, 2014). "Katrina Pierson about Taking on the Establishment GOP". GlennBeck.com. Archived from the original on February 14, 2014. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
- Swerdlick, David (February 25, 2014). "Black Tea Partier Katrina Pierson Takes on Obama—and Her Own Party". The Root. Archived from the original on January 21, 2016. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
- Georgatos, Debbie (September 22, 2011). "De-Bunking Tea Party Myths: An Interview with Katrina Pierson". TexasGOPVote. Archived from the original on August 19, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
- Schreckinger, Ben; Glueck, Katie (November 18, 2015). "Trump's New Face". Politico. Archived from the original on November 22, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
- "Katrina Pearson [sic]". TeapartyExpress.com. Archived from the original on December 31, 2015. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
- Weigel, David (February 21, 2014). "Weak Tea". Slate. Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
- LaCapria, Kim (August 15, 2016). "Her Arcane Katrina". Snopes.com. Archived from the original on August 19, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
- Hooks, Christopher (February 24, 2014). "The Katrina Pierson Bubble Bursts". The Texas Observer. Archived from the original on February 25, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
- Tuttle, Ian. "The Many Strange Inconsistencies and Occasional Outright Lies of Donald Trump's Spokeswoman". Retrieved August 27, 2016.
- Hasson, Peter (January 22, 2016). "Trump Spokeswoman: Malcolm X Is 'My Idol,' Republicans Are Racist". The Daily Caller.
- Tinsley, Anna M. (December 14, 2015). "Trump's Outspoken Texas Spokeswoman Likely Will Be Around for Awhile". McClatchy DC. Archived from the original on March 12, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
- Kennedy, Bob (November 12, 2015). "Question: Why Jump from Cruz to Trump?". Opinion. Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Archived from the original on August 19, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
- Swartsell, Nick (February 19, 2014). "Sarah Palin Supports Katrina Pierson, Jabs at Pete Sessions". Trail Blazers Blog. Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
- Gillman, Todd J. (January 13, 2014). "Ted Cruz Adds Katrina Pierson to His Expanding List of the "Utterly Fearless"". Trail Blazers Blog. The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on January 15, 2014. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
- Jeffers Jr., Gromer (January 6, 2014). "Ted Cruz's Dad, Rafael Cruz, Backs Katrina Pierson for Congress Over Incumbent Pete Sessions". Trail Blazers Blog. The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on March 25, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
- "President Obama: I wouldn't let my son play pro football". CBS Sports. Jan 19, 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- Becker, Kyle. "Texas Candidate Drops One of the Sassiest Ads Ever on Obama's $7 Trillion in Debt And It is Glorious". Independent Journal Review. Independent Journal Review. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Kamisar, Ben (November 9, 2015). "Trump Taps Ex-Cruz Supporter as Spokeswoman". The Hill. Archived from the original on December 17, 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
- Benen, Steve (December 21, 2015). "Team Trump's Unhealthy Approach to Nuclear Weapons". The Rachel Maddow Show. Archived from the original on December 31, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
- Savransky, Rebecca (March 14, 2017). "Report: Katrina Pierson turned down top White House job". The Hill. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
- Resnick, Gideon (March 14, 2017). "'Hurricane Katrina' Pierson Turned Down White House Gig". The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
- Bykowicz, Julie (January 30, 2017). "Trump advisers start 'America First Policies' nonprofit". Usnews.com. Associated Press. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
- Manchester, Julia (March 13, 2018). "Trump campaign hires Katrina Pierson". The Hill. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
- Pierson, Katrina. "Katrina Pierson". Twitter. See sidebar: "Born on July 20". Archived from the original on July 22, 2016. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
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