Politics & Government

Newsmaker: Katrina Pierson’s journey from the Tea Party to the White House

Katrina Pierson
Katrina Pierson Courtesy

Katrina Pierson has never been shy about voicing her opinion.

 

That’s why it should be little surprise that Pierson, 40, who became a voice for the Tea Party movement in North Texas years ago, was catapulted into the limelight during the past year as the national spokeswoman for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Both brash and defiant, Pierson — one of the Star-Telegram’s top newsmakers of 2016 — quickly became a prominent face and voice for his campaign and now serves as a senior adviser for Trump’s presidential transition team.

“The last year has been a true journey,” she told the Star-Telegram. “I’m grateful to be able to say that I was given an opportunity of a lifetime and I gave 110 percent to the next president of the United States.”

Many wonder if she will be named to a post in the Trump administration.

“I will serve at the pleasure of the president-elect if he asks me to serve,” she said. “I want to continue to serve in a capacity that enables me to continue to grow this movement and reshape government to revolve around the people again.”

Pierson has come a long way from her humble beginnings, pulling herself up by her bootstraps after being born to a teenage mother and growing up on welfare.

She followed in her mother’s footsteps, having a child of her own at a young age. She has said being arrested for shoplifting in 1997 turned her life around, propelling her to become the first college graduate in her family.

She became passionate about political causes, spearheading some Tea Party gatherings, helping Ted Cruz on his long-shot but successful bid for the U.S. Senate and eventually making an unsuccessful congressional bid herself.

She initially supported Cruz in his presidential bid — until she met Trump in January 2015.

That’s when Pierson told the New York businessman that if he ever ran for the White House, she would do everything she could to help.

“I knew that if we were going to defeat Hillary Clinton, it would have to be a candidate that had two qualities,” she said. “First, they would have to drop the political correctness. Second, they would have to be able to bypass the mainstream media. In other words, a nonpolitician.

“I knew that Donald Trump would be the only candidate that could get the job done. And besides, he’s a winner.”

Pierson became one of the more prominent faces of the organization, constantly defending Trump on cable news. She drew attention for everything from her outspoken demeanor to wearing a necklace of bullets to show support for the National Rifle Association.

She was a controversial figure, at times committing gaffes — such as blaming President Barack Obama for the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, which took place in 2001, long before he took office in 2009 — prompting the creation of the #KatrinaPiersonHistory hashtag.

Her television interviews often became combative. But now, after the election, she’s more selective about which interviews she gives.

“I choose the media that I want to do now that the election is over. There is no need to fight or jump through any more brutal hoops,” she said. “We won. Now we govern.”

Pierson said it’s an honor to help build Trump’s administration.

“This administration will be like no other in history,” she said. “We are creating history for working-class Americans.”

Life in general is far different for Pierson than it was a year ago.

She lives in both North Texas and Washington, D.C.

Asked what’s next, she answered: “We’ll see. The sky is the limit.”

Anna M. Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

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