The Heritage Foundation's board of directors gathered at the think tank's imposing Capitol Hill campus early Tuesday morning to decide the fate of their president, conservative firebrand and former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint. They kept him waiting for nearly three hours.
DeMint, who left the Senate to lead the organization in 2013, is reportedly the victim of a coup orchestrated in large part by the leader of the organization's lobbying arm, Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham. But speculation abounds as the think tank remained tight lipped officially and staffers were barred from talking to the press.
After more than four days, the picture still isn't clear. It's just ugly as soon-to-be former colleagues snipe at each other anonymously in the press.
Here's what we do know about the proceedings of earlier today, according to sources with knowledge:
The board began their meeting at 9:30 a.m.
After almost three hours, around 12:30 p.m., DeMint was called into the eighth-floor boardroom, perhaps to make his case or step down. Roughly 55 minutes later, the leader of the Heritage Foundation left the meeting and did not comment.
The right-wing world waited in anticipation for a statement that did not come. A senior Heritage communications staffer told the Washington Examiner that the organization would speak when the time was right.
It is widely rumored that Heritage co-founder and former president, Ed Feulner, and Needham, his protege, will lead the foundation until DeMint's successor is named. But even that wasn't clear at press time.
Heritage employees will soon get some sort of clarity. Feulner called a 4:30 p.m. all-staff meeting.
"The purpose of the meeting is to give you an update on all the news reports about a leadership change at Heritage," Feulner wrote. "During the meeting, you will hear from the Board of Trustees and me, and we will gladly answer your questions."
Feulner wrote to the Heritage staff: "With so much unfounded media speculation over the past few days, I want to hear from you and answer as many questions as I can," he wrote, before signing off with his characteristic exclamation, "onward!"
When this reporter tried to ask Feulner a question this morning, however, Feulner was not as forthcoming: "I've been hearing from you," Feulner told me this morning, "but I've got nothing to say right now."
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.