President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump wave as they board Air Force One at Andrews Joint Base, Maryland, United States, January 20, 2021.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
A lobby shop co-founded by former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign leaders is closing its doors following Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
Avenue Strategies was co-founded by Barry Bennett after Trump’s first win nearly four years ago. Bennett now says it is time for the company to shut down following protests outside his office building, which is a five-minute walk from the White House. Bennett was a senior advisor to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The closure follows Trump’s loss to Biden, making Avenue Strategies one of the first lobbying shops to be directly linked to Trump. The company called itself “Sherpa” for potential customers wishing to gain access to the Trump White House and a new Washington under that administration.
Bennett didn’t say in emails to CNBC that Trump’s loss was the reason he closed the company. Instead, he pointed to the recent violence in Washington DC as a motivation to move on.
“The office is in the middle of BLM [Black Lives Matter] Square and one block from the White House. Troubled neighborhood, “Bennett told CNBC in an email Tuesday, citing violence that took place outside of the Avenue Strategies office in November.” Covid and the violence made it impossible to keep the office open. “
“Will announce an impartial alliance soon. But the avenue office is ready,” he said. “Joining a new company,” he remarked, declining to provide further details at this point. Bennett didn’t answer when asked if Trump’s loss was another reason he decided to close the company.
The company was also co-founded by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, but left Avenue Strategies in 2017.
Bennett’s firm was full of lobbyists who had ties to Trump and the Republican Party at large, including others involved in the 2016 former Commander in Chief and the leaders of Ben Carson’s presidential campaign. Carson was Trump’s secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
2020 seems to have been the best year financially for Avenue Strategies. Data from the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) shows that at least five customers paid nearly $ 1 million on a variety of topics, including those related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the past year, Bennett and his team have supported the White House, the Commerce Department, the Treasury Department, the State Department, Homeland Security and the National Security Council, among others, according to CRP data.