Steve Schmidt is a political strategist who focuses upon communications as well as public affairs. He has been in U.S. politics for a very long, as shown by his involvement in a number of political campaigns headed up by prominent Republicans and other politicians. However, Schmidt tends to be best-known because he is a founder of the Lincoln Project, which is a much more recent thing. Having said that, he has since stepped down from the PAC’s advisory board, supposedly to make room for naming a woman to said body as a step in professionalizing its operations.
1. Born in North Plainfield, NJ
Schmidt was born in the borough of North Plainfield in the state of New Jersey. Said borough can be found in the Raritan Valley Region, which is centered upon the Raritan River that empties out into Raritan Bay on the Atlantic coast. Due to its position, said river is an important source of potable water for the central part of the state.
2. Was an Eagle Scout
When Schmidt was still a child, he managed to earn the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. Just four percent of Scouts have managed to earn the rank ever since it was established in 1911, which makes sense because it has demanding requirements. For example, interested individuals need to earn at least 21 merit badges. Similarly, interested individuals need to demonstrate Scout Spirit, which is how they are supposed to behave based on the Scout Oath and Law.
3. Went to the University of Delaware
After graduating from high school, Schmidt went to the University of Delaware from 1988 to the spring of 1993. However, he didn’t graduate at the time because he failed a math course, which he has attributed to a learning disability that makes higher forms of math difficult for him. As such, Schmidt didn’t graduate by completing the math course until 2013. Regardless, it should come as no surprise to learn that he majored in political science when it came to his college education.
4. Registered As a Republican in College
As a child, Schmidt had delivered campaign materials for the Democrat Bill Bradley’s successful run for the U.S. Senate in 1978. However, he has been a Republican for a very long time, as shown by how he registered as one when he was still in college. Schmidt did some field work for Republican candidates in the state of Delaware. Furthermore, he was known to wear campaign buttons to class, which suggests that he was already quite involved in politics at the time.
5. Continued Campaigning in the 1990s
Schmidt continued campaigning in the mid 1990s and beyond. To name an example, he managed an unsuccessful campaign for Will T. Scott, who was running for the position of Attorney General of Kentucky in 1995. Furthermore, he managed another unsuccessful campaign for Tim Leslie, who was running for the position of Lt. Governor of California in 1998. Later, Schmidt was involved in a couple of other unsuccessful campaigns as well, with one being Matt Fong’s campaign for the U.S. Senate and the other being Lamar Alexander’s campaign for President of the United States.
6. Was Involved in Federal Politics By the 2000s
By late 2000, Schmidt had managed to make a successful transition to federal politics, as shown by how he had become communications director for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Federal politics is higher-profile than state politics, which in turn, means that it is more difficult to become involved as well. As such, even though Schmidt didn’t have a lot of campaign successes under his belt, he managed to make his way upwards anyways. Something that is further supported by how he eventually managed to make his way into the Bush administration.
7. Was a Strategist for the Bush Administration
Soon enough, Schmidt had become a member of the Bush administration, with the result that he was involved in strategic matters. To name an example, he was a member of the strategic group headed up by Karl Rove, which was responsible for running George W. Bush’s re-election campaign. Later, Schmidt was credited with a couple of the Bush administration’s successes from a strategic point of view. First, there was the successful nomination of Samuel Alito. Second, there was the successful nomination of John Roberts.
8. Has Always Had Some Views that Ran Contrary to the Republican Mainstream
It is worth mentioning that Schmidt has always had some views that ran contrary to the Republic mainstream. Nowadays, gay rights are more-or-less a settled issue in mainstream U.S. politics. However, this was still a very contentious topic as recently as the 2000s, more so among the Republicans than among the Democrats. Despite this, Schmidt voiced his support for gay rights at a meeting of the Log Cabin Republicans in 2008. This might be connected to how his lesbian sister and her life partner are involved in his family’s lives, which is the kind of thing that tends to make people more supportive of such issues. On top of this, Schmidt was one of 75 Republicans who co-signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States supporting the overturning of Proposition 8 that was meant to ban same-sex marriage in California.
9. One of the Republicans Who Opposed the Trump Administration
Schmidt was once quite prominent in the Republican Party. For proof, look no further than the fact that he was the Operations Chief for John McCain’s 2008 run for the presidency. However, Schmidt was one of the Republicans who were disliked President Donald Trump’s politics, so much so that he remained an opponent even once Donald Trump had managed to become the President of the United States. This can be seen in his criticism of the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Trump administration’s decision to separate immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, and the decision of many Republicans to support said administration in spite of their previous opposition.
10. Stepped Down in the Middle of Scandal
Moving on, Schmidt stepped down from the Lincoln Project at a time when it was going through a scandal of its own. Essentially, the organization’s executive Ron Steslow was notified about a pattern of sexual harassment on the part of the political consultant John Weaver. After which, Steslow notified other Lincoln Project officials, who were aware of at least 10 such allegations by June of 2020. Despite this, the organization mishandled things quite badly when the news came out in public, with the result that Schmidt was one of a number of individuals who winded up resigning in the wake of this mishandling.