A Washington property owned by former independent member of parliament and former member of Egypt’s Wafd Party, Mostafa al-Gendy, has been allegedly used as the headquarters for US presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign manager.
Gendy has had a number of diverse business and political affiliations over the years, from links to deposed President Hosni Mubarak’s government, to revolutionary sympathies in 2011.
Gendy’s property is also the headquarters for Breitbart, the news website of which Trump’s campaign head Steve Bannon is chairperson, and a conservative platform for Trump and his campaign. This information has raised questions about Gendy’s relationship to Trump, speculations about which Gendy has vehemently denied.
Speaking to Mada Masr, Gendy says that, as any businessman working in the field of tourism, he has property around the world that he uses to promote tourism in Egypt. One of them is the Washington DC townhouse in question.
“When 2011 happened, as we all know, tourism was hit hard, so I had to start renting out the property,” he says, clearly annoyed at the rumors. “A real estate agent has been taking care of its rental and I am not usually aware of who it is rented to. I am just a landlord,” he explains.
Gendy did not remember the name of the real estate agent the company dealt with, Egypt Africa House. Yet the businessman appears to be more than just a landlord for the headquarters of Breitbart. He was also regularly interviewed by the website’s news editor, Mike Flynn, a conservative activist.
“I gave interviews to CNBC and other outlets,” Gendy comments. “As a man of the revolution, I was very vocal about the Muslim Brotherhood’s violations and I have my audience in the West and the US,” he says, adding that he considers having a voice in the US vital because current President Barak Obama “supports terrorism and has called our [June 30] revolution a coup.”
Gendy was a vocal supporter of the June 30 movement, amid which the military, aided by massive public support, deposed former President Mohamed Morsi.
Gendy attracted the attention of Shady al-Ghazaly Harb, a member of the post-2011 Revolution Youth Coalition in 2010, when he resigned from the liberal Wafd Party over objections to the party’s determination to take part in the 2010 parliamentary elections. The elections results were found to be fraudulent through their positioning of the formerly ruling National Democratic Party, with many independent candidates boycotting them in anticipation of this outcome.
Gendy was a winning candidate for the independent Revolution Continues parliamentary coalition, which secured eight seats in the 2011 post-revolution election, which was a fierce competition between Islamists and secular forces less enthusiastic about the 2011 revolution. According to an activist involved in the campaign, he was close to Abdel Ghaffar Shokr, head of the Socialist Popular Alliance that was part of the coalition, as they bonded over their Ahly Football Club support.
“He became one of the figures of the revolution, supported [Presidential Candidate Hamdeen] Sabbahi in 2012, and was one of the main financiers of his campaign,” Harb, who was formerly close to Gendy, explains. Sabbahi eventually lost the presidential race, but many independent voters rallied around him against an Islamist or old regime alternative.
After Morsi took the presidency, Gendy, according to Harb, started rallying anti-Brotherhood youth. “They used to follow him closely and attend meetings at his house,” Harb says. These young people would eventually go to peaceful anti-Brotherhood sit-ins with arms, Harb claims.
Gendy then joined the Salvation Front, which aligned with the military to depose Morsi around the June 30 protests. “After June 30, I became doubtful. He became so supportive of the ruling regime,” Harb remembers.
Harb confirms Gendy’s story about the Washington DC property, saying that he was told it was mainly a place to market his tourism business. “I don’t have a problem with him owning a house in Washington DC, but renting it to Trump’s chief campaigner is my problem,” Harb concludes.
Gendy is also said to have investments in tourism and agriculture in both Uganda and Sudan.