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March 10, 2016

Trump Campaign Manager Yanks Female Breitbart Reporter Almost to the Ground; Trump Campaign Denies; Witnesses Support the Reporter

Michelle Fields relates her version of the incident at Breitbart:

Even if Trump was done taking questions, Lewandowski would be out of line. Campaign managers aren’t supposed to try to forcefully throw reporters to the ground, no matter the circumstance. But what made this especially jarring is that there was no hint Trump was done taking questions. No one was pushing him to get away. He seemed to have been happily answering queries from my fellow reporters just a moment before.

Many people have been asking me on Twitter and in emails what exactly happened Tuesday night. I hope this article answers those questions and I can get back to reporting the news, not being a part of it.

A Washington Post reporter, Ben Terris, says he witnessed the event, and backs Fields' account:

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."

Breitbart released a short statement in the name of Larry Solov:

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.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks denies the event took place, and questions the truthfulness of Fields:

Fields has posted a picture of her forearm, showing bruising consistent with a hard grab:

Breitbart has now issued another press release:

Breitbart.com obviously likes Trump a heck of a lot. And look how Trump is repaying that -- by essentially humiliating them, not acknowledging at all the goodwill that Breitbart should have amassed with Trump.

Breitbart asked for the most minor of concessions that would save its own face (they have a responsibility to protect their reporters), and Trump responded by calling the reporter's truthfulness into question, and calling into question a previous claim of having been hit with a police baton.

This requires Breitbart, in return, to issue another press release.

I imagine Team Trump's next move will be to demand Michelle Fields apologize to "Mr. Trump."

Trump doesn't seem to care about how he treats his strong allies. Humiliating them, making them appear impotent.

Something to keep in mind, going forward. It's not just his opponents he treats contemptuously -- it's his allies, too.

Note that all Breitbart asked for was the most minimal of concessions -- an apology. They didn't demand the firing of this guy or anything.

They asked for something minor and perfectly reasonable, and the response was to... go to war against a Breitbart reporter, basically.

Anything that could hurt "Mr. Trump's" brand must be destroyed.

I realize that there's a lot of support for Trump on the basis of his ill-treatment of the press and protesters (often the same thing), and of refusing to concede an inch to anyone, on anything.

But there's a dark side to that. Protesters are annoying but they shouldn't be handled roughly or hit. Reporters are annoying but they shouldn't be grabbed and yanked, almost to the ground. (Not that it matters, but this reporter turns out to be one for the Trump-friendly Breitbart.)

And the problem with never conceding an inch anything is that it sometimes looks less like tough confidence and more just like shabby lying and excuse making.

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posted by Ace at 03:45 PM

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