The endless saga of ex-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields and her physical encounter with Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski continues.
Weeks after Fields filed charges against him, and based on much clearer security footage of the incident during which Lewandowski allegedly gripped Fields’ forearm, leaving bruises, and pulled her back and away from Trump, Trump’s campaign manager was charged with battery.
On Tuesday CNN GOP town hall debate moderator Anderson Cooper asked Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. John Kasich and Trump himself about the incident, and Trump–as he does–completely doubled down in support of his man. Fields, who was previously accused of making the whole thing up, was now at fault because she allegedly grabbed at Trump to try and get his attention. On Twitter, Trump continued his histrionics by tweeting Fields’ arguably hyperbolic (though not inaccurate) original description of Lewandowski grabbing her, and then tweeted a picture of Fields at his arm, holding…something! Probably a pen. Or possibly…terrorism!
Why is this reporter touching me as I leave news conference? What is in her hand?? pic.twitter.com/HQB8dl0fhn— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2016
At the CNN town hall, Trump elaborated, and must be quoted in full: “[Fields] went through the Secret Service, she had a pen in her hand, which Service Service is not liking because they don’t know what it is, whether it’s a little bomb or…. it could’ve been a knife. It could’ve been just a pen, which is very dangerous.”
Soundly mocked by pundits, reporters and Trump haters for this, his fans and human YouTube comment Ann Coulter continued to blame Fields for the whole thing and to pick carefully at her words for any hint of falsehood or exaggeration. Trump also keeps expressing a kingly attitude that because the press conference was over, Fields had no business attempting to rangle him for a question. It’s Trump time, and we’d better set our watches to it.
Certainly you can argue that this story has been overcovered by the media at the expense of real policy news (welcome to America, and welcome to elections, and…), and that the press cares too much for one of its own in peril and not enough when it’s some random person being suckerpunched. You may think Fields (an acquaintance of mine) is making too much of the incident. But the security footage now shows that the incident indeed happened, and Trump’s campaign manager appears to be the culprit.
Trump may even have a Nixon-esque crazypants point that the media has it in for him now, with a few exceptions–and after giving him months of breathless attention. Certainly, nearly every mainstream Republican is now terrified of Trump stealing the nomination from their approved candidates. A brokered convention might really be on the horizon.
The Trumpian logic–which is politics at its most base–says that “they hit me first” is a reasonable explanation for nasty behavior. It also reveals that the most alpha of men is terrified of female reporters (sup, Megyn Kelly) who have pens in their hands and questions on their lips.