Trump Defends His Campaign Manager Charged With Misdemeanor

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign manager was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery in Florida

3 min read
Corey Lewandowski and Donald Trump at an event. (Photo: AP)

In the latest chapter in a raucous US race marked by threats, insults and physical confrontations, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign manager was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery in Florida on Tuesday in an incident involving a reporter.

Police in Florida, charged 42-year-old Corey Lewandowski, with intentionally grabbing and bruising the arm of Michelle Fields, a former reporter for the conservative news outlet Breitbart, when she tried to question Trump at a campaign event on 8 March.

Fields resigned from Breitbart less than a week after the incident, citing what she said was the online news outlet’s refusal to stand behind her amid the allegations.

Republican front-runner Trump repeatedly defended Lewandowski throughout a day of campaigning in Wisconsin.

At a CNN town hall on Tuesday night, Trump said he would remain loyal to his campaign manager and that Lewandowski would remain on the job even though it might be more convenient to “terminate this man, ruin his life, ruin his family ... ruin his whole everything and say: You’re fired.”

Trump also questioned Fields’ original description of the incident in which she said she was almost yanked to the ground by Lewandowski. He wondered aloud if she had posed a threat to him because she approached him with an ink pen.

She had a pen in her hand that could’ve been a knife.
Donald Trump

The 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.

Campaign rallies for Trump, the billionaire businessman who leads the race to become the Republican candidate in the presidential election, have been marked by occasional clashes between protesters and supporters or security personnel.

His pugnacious campaign style, which includes personal insults directed at rivals and scathing criticism of protesters, has been criticised for encouraging physical altercations at his rallies.

Trump also said Fields had been pursuing him after a news conference and Lewandowski was trying to “get her off me.” He questioned whether Lewandowski had given Fields the bruise on her arm.

How do you know those bruises weren’t there before?
Donald Trump asked reporters

Republican strategist Katie Packer, who runs an anti-Trump Super PAC, said the incident and the charges against Lewandowski reflected the candidate’s lack of respect toward women.

He doesn’t have the kind of values and the kind of temperament that we should expect from someone who wants to be commander in chief.
Katie Packer, Republican Strategist

Lewandowski was charged with simple battery, defined under Florida law as intentionally touching or striking a person against their will. For a first offence, it is a misdemeanor in the first degree, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison or a fine of $1,000.

A court date was set for May 4, according to the police report. Florida police said that Lewandowski turned himself in, and was issued a notice which required him to appear in court. He was not booked into the jail.

Lewandowski’s lawyer, Scott Richardson of West Palm Beach, Florida, declined to comment on whether his client would step down as campaign manager. Lewandowski will also be represented by Kendall Coffey, a Miami lawyer, the campaign said.

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