Club of Current, Former Trump Staffers Meets in Secret

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A group called the 45 Club is comprised of current and former staffers for President Donald Trump, gathers in secret at Washington, D.C.-area establishments to socialize, and wears lapel pins made from a .45 shell casing.

Politico profiled the group, which was formed in 2017 after Trump took office. Attendance was once at more than 100 people per meetup, but interest has waned over the past two years, the report says.

Members of the club must be Trump administration appointees past or present, or former members of Trump’s campaign, transition, or inaugural committees.

The group goes to great lengths to remain as secret as possible, which even includes not revealing the location of gatherings until someone confirms they will attend.

“In this political climate, there’s a lot of people who would not have pure intentions of coming to network,” a former Trump campaign staffer familiar with the club told Politico. “They may be trying to infiltrate.”

The club was founded by three people: Nicholas Johns, Paul Gates, and Ryan O’Dwyer. The latter two worked on the Trump campaign, but Johns had no affiliation with Trump other than being a supporter and a worker at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Trump’s administration has been a revolving door of sorts, with several people either quitting or being forced out in the two-plus years Trump has been in office. The latest changes came at the Department of Homeland Security, which saw the resignation of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the firing of Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles.


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