Trump Campaign Manager Accused of Assaulting Female Reporter Now Goes After Her on Twitter
Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, is refusing to apologize for reportedly roughing up a female reporter from Breitbart.com, and is now attacking her on Twitter as an “attention seeker.” The Trump campaign is attacking her as well.
Politico first reported the incident early on Wednesday. As Trump was exiting Tuesday night’s press conference, Michelle Fields attempted to ask him a question. Fields, in her first-person account published Thursday, says she was suddenly “jolted backwards.”
“Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down,” she wrote. “I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken.”
Her account was confirmed by Washington Post reporter Ben Terris:
As security parted the masses to give him passage out of the chandelier-lit ballroom, Michelle Fields, a young reporter for Trump-friendly Breitbart News, pressed forward to ask the GOP front-runner a question. I watched as a man with short-cropped hair and a suit grabbed her arm and yanked her out of the way. He was Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s 41-year-old campaign manager.
Fields stumbled. Finger-shaped bruises formed on her arm.
“I’m just a little spooked,” she said, a tear streaming down her face. “No one has grabbed me like that before.”
Fields went on. “I quickly turned around and saw Lewandowski and Trump exiting the building together,” Fields said. “No apology. No explanation for why he did this.”
Fields is still waiting. After initially ignoring requests for comment, the Trump campaign finally released a statement/denial Thursday. “The accusation,” said spokeswoman Hope Hicks, “is entirely false.” Hicks claims she was there and “did not witness any encounter.” She went on to say that “our staff would never do anything to harm another individual.”
Trump’s spokeswoman then blasted Fields, saying, “This person” should have made her claim directly to the campaign, rather than Twitter. (Remember, the story was reported by Politico, not by Fields.) “… especially since no other outlet or reporter witnessed or questioned anything that transpired that evening.” (A Washington Post reporter apparently does not count.)
Hicks then insinuated that Fields has a history of false allegations. “We leave it to others whether this [is] part of a larger pattern of exaggerating incidents, but on multiple occasions she has become part of the news story as opposed to reporting it.”
Lewandowski himself went after the young reporter:
Michelle Fields is an attention seeker who once claimed Allen West groped her but later went silent. https://t.co/J86Ej42eYx
— Corey Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) March 10, 2016
Daily Caller reporter assaulted by NYPD during ‘Occupy’ protests — professional reporting or attention seeking? https://t.co/FqOQQMvNcy
— Corey Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) March 10, 2016
Fields tweeted a response to this verbal attack from the Trump campaign.
— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields) March 10, 2016
Politico also responded to the Trump campaign denials, posting a transcript of audio it says confirms the account of Fields and Terris. Towards the end, a shocked Fields expresses her dismay to the Post reporter, “I don’t understand,” she says, “You’re going after a Breitbart reporter, the people who are nicest to you?”
As for Breitbart.com, they’re standing by Fields and argue that it’s not surprising that she has experienced rough treatment before given the volatile news situations she has bravely covered. “We are disappointed in the campaign’s response, in particular their effort to demean Michelle’s previous reporting,” Breitbart News Network CEO and President Larry Solov said in a statement. “Michelle Fields is an intrepid reporter who has covered tough and dangerous stories. We stand behind her reporting, her techniques and call again on Corey Lewandowski to apologize.” Breitbart also has suspended a reporter who suggested on Twitter his co-worker had made the story up.
Breitbart‘s Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro doesn’t want just Lewandowski’s apology. He wants the campaign manager’s head.
Lewandowski should be fired. This is not about Michelle being "part of the story." It's about bad people tolerating thuggery.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) March 10, 2016
Far on the other side of the political spectrum, the Huffington Post also has called for Lewandowski’s resignation.
#BullyTrump: A Pattern of Violence?
The incident with Michelle Fields comes against a backdrop of violence associated with the Trump campaign. The Federalist today outlined six of the most recent. Just yesterday, during a campaign event in North Carolina, a white Trump supporter sucker-punched a black protester who was being escorted from the premises. John McGraw, 78, has been charged with assault and disorderly conduct.
BREAKING NEWS: Man charged with assaulting a protester at Donald Trump rally in North Carolina. pic.twitter.com/l5NnFColfq
— Breaking News Feed (@pzf) March 10, 2016
Yesterday, Trump predicted Thursday night’s debate would be “nicer, softer, lighter.” In the wake of all these incidents, the question is, “By whose standards?”