A former campaign staffer is accusing the Trump campaign’s then North Carolina State Director Earl Phillip of pulling a gun on him.
Vincent Bordini, 41, filed the lawsuit that alleges the incident happened in February 2016, according to WBTV. Bordini, who worked for the campaign in software for three months, told The New York Daily News he filed the suit because the Trump campaign didn’t do anything about his allegations.
Phillip told WSOC-TV that he denies the allegations and has resigned from the Trump campaign.
The suit contends that the incident occurred while Phillip was driving, and Bordini was in the passenger seat. “Phillip produced a pistol, put his right index finger on the trigger, and drove the barrel into Vincent’s knee cap,” says the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed in Mecklenburg, North Carolina against Phillip and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; Phillip has a history of making controversial statements about Democrats and President Barack Obama’s race and citizenship.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Phillip Once Said Democrats Aren’t Christians & Obama Isn’t Really Black Or a Citizen
In a controversial interview with the Statesville Record & Landmark, Phillip said, “You cannot be a Christian and be a member of, or support, or be a card-carrying member of the Democratic Party…I don’t believe in abortion because it’s against the Bible. I do not believe in same-sex marriage… What are you going to tell God when he comes?”
Phillip, who previously served in the Army, also trashed President Obama and questioned whether he is a citizen.
“I’m not a fan of (Obama) because I don’t believe in his ideology, I don’t believe he’s a Christian, I don’t believe he’s a citizen,” said Phillip, according to the newspaper.
The newspaper said that Phillip was born in the Virgin Islands and said Obama “was African-American because his father was Kenyan, but not black because he grew up did not grow up in black neighborhood.”
At the time of the 2014 comments, he was the Republican National Committee’s African American State GOP Director for North Carolina, said The Statesville Record & Landmark.
2. The Lawsuit Accuses Phillip of Brandishing a Weapon Previously & Paints The Gun Allegations in Vivid Detail
Bordini described himself in the lawsuit as the founder of a web development company who worked at the Victory Office helping secure the election in 2008 for McCain/Palin. He says he was hired as a software trainer by the Trump campaign in 2015.
Bordini says the campaign told him that he could mostly work for home but that Phillip demanded he be present at the campaign office each day and attend campaign events with him.
He said the gun incident occurred in Phillip’s jeep as they drove to a hotel near Greenville, South Carolina headquarters to check on volunteers during the South Carolina primary, the lawsuit alleges.
Bordini claims that Phillip pulled a loaded .45 caliber pistol on him, with his index finger on the trigger and the safety off, according to the lawsuit.
“What the f— are you doing?” Bordini claims he said and “Phillip put the gun away as if nothing had happened,” the suit contends.
In the lawsuit, Bordini claims that he reported the incident to the Trump campaign’s regional director of Western North Carolina, but the director “told Vincent that he, too, had been brandished upon by Phillip. He was terrified.”
The New York Daily News said Phillip left his position as state director last week to become the deputy chair of Trump’s National Diversity Coalition but resigned that post Aug. 11.
Bordini claimed that Phillip had brandished a weapon at two other campaign staffers. “Some described Phillip as initially calm. Then, he would brandish his weapon, put its barrel against their bodies or aim at him. He would wait for his victims to show fear and then calmly conceal his weapon again,” the lawsuit alleges. The suit says others “described Phillip yelling and screaming in anger while brandishing a pistol.”
The suit claims that one of the other victims told the North Carolina GOP political director but nothing happened.
3. Bordini Says He Told Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski About The Incident But Nothing Occurred
Bordini claims in the lawsuit that no action was taken after he told Lewandowski about the matter.
The lawsuit says that Bordini claims he spoke to Lewandowski by phone and Lewandowski said “that he took Vincent’s complaint seriously” but “did nothing.” He also claims he told Trump campaign national field director Stuart Jolly and “nothing happened.”
“In response, the Trump campaign neither terminated nor suspended Phillip. In fact, at the time of filing, Phillip continues to work for the Trump campaign,” says the lawsuit.
According to WBTV reporter Nick Ochsner, the Trump campaign replaced Phillip just last week.
Bordini described himself in the suit as a “passionate Donald J. Trump supporter.” He said he had “faith” initially that the Trump campaign would handle the situation internally but “as time went on it became apparent that this was not going to happen,” the lawsuit contends.
Bordini is alleging assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress, as well as negligent retention and supervision by the campaign, according to the lawsuit.
Lewandowski had his own controversy in which he was accused of grabbing a Breitbart reporter. However, prosecutors opted not to file any charges against Lewandowski, who is no longer Trump’s campaign manager.
4. Trump Had Previously Praised Phillip, Calling Him a ‘Valuable’ Member of His Team
In a press release in 2015, Trump praised the hiring of Phillip.
“It is great to announce the additions of Earl and Taylor who will be valuable members of our operation in North Carolina, where I have been leading in every poll for many months,” the release said. “I look forward to being back in North Carolina soon as I continue to share my vision to Make America Great Again!”
Earl Phillip was quoted in the release as saying, “North Carolina is a very strong Republican State that knows and understands upfront, common-sense leadership. Mr. Trump exudes that leadership. I will lead the campaign’s effort here in North Carolina to further continue that leadership.”
5. Phillip Has Long Ties to Republican Politics in North Carolina
According to The Root, “Phillip has a history in Republican Party leadership.” He previously served as North Carolina African-American state director for the Republican National Committee, chairman of National Veterans for Republicans Association and chairman of the National Minority Conservative Convention, said The Root.
Phillip spoke about his support for Trump at community events.
The Trump press release on Phillip’s hiring says Phillip “previously served as the North Carolina African American State Director for the Republican National Committee (RNC), Director of The Frederick Douglass Foundation in the Greater Charlotte Area, Chairman of National Veterans for Republicans Association and Chairman of National Minority Conservative Convention. Earl also consulted for the Director of Minority Engagement for the NCGOP. He is the President and owner of Innovative Consulting Services and the current Director of North Carolina Black Engagement.”