DC Trawler

Did A Trump Aide Just Admit To Assaulting A Reporter?

Getty Images/Tom Pennington

I’m trying to remain objective about the following story, despite my complete disdain for Donald Trump and the fact that I know and like two of the people involved. One of them works at the Daily Caller, and the other one used to. I consider them both friends, and I believe them.

On Tuesday night, right after Donald Trump got done proving he’s not a con man by showing off a bunch of wares produced by businesses he doesn’t own, Jamie Weinstein tweeted this:

Hadas Gold at Politico followed up on it:

Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski forcibly yanked Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields out of the way after his press conference in Florida on Tuesday night.

Fields was attempting to ask Trump a question as he exited the press conference. Secret Service was starting to clear a path, when Fields was forcibly grabbed on her arm by Lewandowski, moving her out of the way and nearly bringing her down to the ground…

Fields was clearly roughed up by the move, the witness said.

Here’s the response from Fields’ employers at Breitbart:

“It’s obviously unacceptable that someone crossed a line and made physical contact with our reporter. What Michelle has told us directly is that someone ‘grabbed her arm’ and while she did not see who it was, Ben Terris of the Washington Post told her that it was Corey Lewandowski. If that’s the case, Corey owes Michelle an immediate apology.” – Larry Solov, Breitbart News CEO and President

So far there’s been no official confirmation or denial that it was Lewandowski, and it’s too late for any apology to be considered immediate.

Ask yourself: If you told your employer that this had happened to you, is this the response you’d want to see? “Someone” allegedly did it. Okay, it’s a press scrum, things get hectic. I get that. But she was told it was Lewandowski by someone who was standing right there. Response: “If that’s the case.” Why wouldn’t it be the case? Are they saying their own employee made it up?

And what are they going to do if Lewandowski doesn’t apologize?

Now we have another piece of the puzzle. Lloyd Grove, Daily Beast:

The statement was issued in the wee hours of Wednesday morning but remains Breitbart’s official comment on the matter, hours after sources said Lewandowski acknowledged to Breitbart’s Washington political editor, Matthew Boyle, that he did manhandle Fields.

Lewandowski’s explanation to Boyle, said these sources, was that he and Fields had never met before and that he didn’t recognize her as a Breitbart reporter, instead mistaking her for an adversarial member of the mainstream media.

“I only assaulted her because I didn’t realize she worked for Breitbart” is not a good answer.

Okay, this is according to anonymous sources, so take that with as big a grain of salt as you want. But now Boyle isn’t talking. Nobody else at Breitbart is talking. Nobody in the Trump campaign is talking. Do any of them seem like the type to keep quiet about a story that reflects badly on them?

I didn’t have the privilege of meeting Breitbart PR flack Kurt Bardella during his brief stay at the Daily Caller, but according to Grove, he sounds like a real treat:

Fields soon received an aggrieved phone call from Bardella, telling her that Weinstein’s tweets were “juvenile,” and “immature,” according to sources, and advising her “to get your boyfriend under control.”

If it sounds to you like the Breitbart boys are more worried about staying on Trump’s good side than the well-being of their own employee, you’re not alone. Here’s some of the immediate reaction from media figures on the right, some of them past and current Breitbart employees:

Just two weeks ago, Ted Cruz fired his comms director for retweeting something. Now a Trump aide is accused of assaulting a woman in public because he didn’t realize she worked for Breitbart. And it sure seems like they all just want it to go away.

Trump needs to address this right now, because it’s not going away. Maybe the guys in charge at Breitbart don’t care what happens to Michelle Fields, but a lot of other people do, and we’re not going to shut up about it.

Either confirm or deny that Lewandowski did this, Mister Trump. If he did, you must fire him immediately.

And say you’re sorry.

Update: Michelle Fields responds. I’m trying to make sense of it. She confirms the story, but then asks everybody to move on. It’s very strange.

Update: Rick Wilson is a GOP consultant who has publicly criticized Donald Trump and felt the wrath of Breitbart for it.

Update: We now have a denial. And the real victim.

And yes, he is speaking as a representative of the Trump campaign:

speaking_on_behalf_of_donald_j_trump

Meanwhile, the usually prolific Trump — who uses Twitter and free cable-news airtime in lieu of a bunch of campaign ads, which he can barely afford because he doesn’t really have any money — hasn’t tweeted since 6 last night:

Where’d he go? Did something happen? Did something not happen?

Update:

I’m being told that she shouldn’t complain because the bruises are so small. No, the bruises should not exist. And now this creep is calling her a liar.

Update: