Earlier this month at a campaign stop in Florida, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump was approached by then Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. Upon asking Trump a couple of questions, Fields was allegedly grabbed by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in an attempt to shut down her inquiries. The day after that incident I saw a Tweet from Fields' boyfriend alleging Lewandowski was even more physical than that.
Trump always surrounds himself w thugs. Tonight thug Corey Lewandowski tried to pull my gf @MichelleFields to ground when she asked tough q— Jamie Weinstein (@Jamie_Weinstein) March 9, 2016
On the other end of the spectrum, the Trump campaigned flatly denied any incident occurred.
NEW: Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks responds to allegations campaign manager assaulted Breitbart reporter: pic.twitter.com/LHRMKXzy3K— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 10, 2016
It appears that we now know the "in-between" version.
Donald Trump's presidential campaign manager was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery in Florida on Tuesday, the latest chapter in a raucous U.S. race marked by threats, insults and physical confrontations.
Police in Jupiter, Florida, charged Corey Lewandowski, 42, with intentionally grabbing and bruising the arm of Michelle Fields, then a reporter for the conservative news outlet Breitbart, when she tried to question Trump at a campaign event on March 8.
Republican front-runner Trump repeatedly defended Lewandowski, saying he was innocent and would fight the charges while continuing as campaign manager. Lewandowski was a good man who was "very, very seriously maligned, and I think it's very unfair," he said.
"I told him I think he should never settle this case. He should go all the way," Trump told reporters on his plane after he landed in Wisconsin for a campaign trip. "I just can't stand by and watch a man's life be destroyed."
Police released a video of the incident showing Fields walking alongside Trump and trying to question him. Lewandowski is seen grabbing her arm and pulling her backward. Previous videos of the incident had been obscured by people in the crowd.
At the time, Lewandowski called Fields "delusional" and said he never touched her.
I guess these just magically appeared on me @CLewandowski_ @realDonaldTrump. So weird. pic.twitter.com/oD8c4D7tw3— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields) March 10, 2016
Not only did Lewandowski call Fields' credibility into question, he went even further by attempting to publicly smear her good name.
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
If this were a normal presidential election cycle and Trump wasn't such a buffoon, a typical response would be along the lines of "I maintain the belief that my campaign manager is innocent of all charges but will not comment further until the legal process has run its course."
Ah, but you know as well as I that Trump isn't capable of handling much of anything in a dignified manner.
Victory press conference was over.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2016
Why is she allowed to grab me and shout questions? Can I press charges? pic.twitter.com/qbW2RjkINX
While I am fervently anti-Trump, I have to admit that footage of Lewandowski grabbing Fields looks rather benign and certainly didn't look to be an attempt to "pull her to the ground."
However, this incident got blown completely out of proportion because:
a) The Trump camp not only refused to apologize but they adamantly denied any impropriety.
b) Fields' employer Breitbart News, who is shamelessly in the bag for Trump, did not support her in this incident. She resigned shortly thereafter.
What's scary is about a week or two after the Fields incident, Lewandowski was caught on video grabbing a protester at a Tucson, AZ rally.
Here is Donald Trump's campaign manager in the Tucson crowd grabbing the collar of a protester. pic.twitter.com/JZ9RntWlHY— Jacqueline Alemany (@JaxAlemany) March 19, 2016
Since Lewandowski will not go to jail for misdemeanor battery, he will be back with the Trump campaign in due time. It's rather difficult for Trump's team to continue to decry the incidents of violence that take place at their rallies if they're willing to keep a confirmed thug on their payroll. But, once again, this is an election cycle where the only conventional wisdom is anything unconventional.