"How does one go from serving as AIPAC's Southwest Regional Political Director a year ago to running Donald Trump's national political operation today?
Ever since Trump announced his White House bid last June, Michael Glassner has been serving as his campaign's national political director. In part, he is credited with landing the coveted Sarah Palin endorsement ahead of the Iowa Caucus last month.
Glassner's political journey began as a 20-year-old college student from Kansas when he served as Bob Dole's traveling aide in the 1988 presidential campaign. "I became the right-hand man for the Senate Majority Leader and a presidential candidate," Glassner related in an interview with Jewish Insider. "It was a tremendous education in politics, and that was the beginning of what became a 15-year relationship as I worked for Senator Dole in a number of capacities."
(left, Glassner and Trump)
Upon moving to New Jersey in the late nineties, Glassner served as a senior advisor to Lewis Eisenberg, the then-Chairman of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and a prominent Republican Jewish leader [who sold the property to Larry Silverstein.] . He worked out of the Port Authority's World Trade Center office but left just before 9/11 to join IDT Corp in Newark. Glassner credits his former boss, IDT founder Howard Jonas, whom he referred to as "a strong Zionist and an AIPAC guy," with encouraging him to become more active in pro-Israel politics. Intermittently between 2000 to 2008, Glassner would take time off to return to the campaign trail: running George W. Bush's general election campaign in Iowa, fundraising for Bush's '04 re-election effort, and in '08, where he managed Sarah Palin's vice presidential campaign.
"My interest in pro-Israel politics had grown exponentially," Glassner recalled. "Particularly since 9-11, which represented a real credible threat to all Americans and in particular as a Jew, I felt very strongly about the threat of radical Islam and so I became more and more involved with AIPAC."
In 2014, Glassner officially joined AIPAC as their Southwest Regional Political Director where, according to his LinkedIn profile, he managed AIPAC's legislative mobilizations, conducted briefings with candidates, and spoke at political events throughout the region.
In July 2015, the phone rang. Donald Trump, a real-estate magnate, decided to run an unconventional campaign for president. Keeping senior hires to the minimum, the Trump campaign offered Glassner to join and serve as its national political director. "The Trump campaign came to me for a lot of reasons," Glassner told Jewish Insider regarding the recruitment process. "I think they were looking for somebody that had experience in presidential politics and who was already in the area, and I live in New Jersey." And, of course, there was the Sarah Palin factor. ...
Glassner pointed to Trump's robust statements against the Iran deal as a clear example of where he stands on Israel. "One of the things that Mr. Trump talks about, almost every single speech he gives, is how bad the Iran deal is," Glassner maintained. "And he uses that as an example for a lot of reasons. One is, I believe it encourages Iran's bad intentions toward Israel. Secondly, it's an example of what bad deal making and poor negotiations can result in. I don't think it directly speaks towards his policy on Israel but it makes it clear that he recognizes that Israel is our most important ally in the region and through poor deal making the current administration has endangered that ally and that is unacceptable and has, in essence, said that many times."
"I don't think there can be any question about his steadfast support for Israel," Glassner declared just hours before Trump suggested he would be "neutral" on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "I would not be working here if I didn't believe that that was held by the candidate himself. It's very important to me, very important to him and the country."