By now you already know that Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been charged with simple battery for a Florida incident in which he yanked and bruised former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. Trump -- a man perhaps best known for bellowing "you're fired" at reality show contestants -- is standing by Lewandowski and upping the ante, suggesting that he may file a complaint against Fields:
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
Someone should tell him that "shouting questions" is literally allowed in America. In any case, that's a screen-grab from newly-released video footage that conclusively proves Lewandowski grabbed Fields, then lied about it while smearing her. After the brief altercation, Fields tweeted out a photo of her bruised arm. Lewandowski shot back that he never touched her, deriding her as "delusional." Her so-called delusion has now been confirmed, on tape. Trump's fresh threatening musings come after a reporter (last seen in a combative exchange with Ted Cruz over an evidence-free National Enquirer "scoop" -- and not the insane "CIA-hired hooker murdered Scalia" one) claims that a Secret Service agent on Trump's detail told him that Fields ignored multiple warnings before touching Trump that evening:
UPDATE: Member of Trump's Secret Service detail confirms Fields touched Trump twice and was warned to stop, before Lewandowski intervened— David Martosko (@dmartosko) March 29, 2016
A few thoughts:
(1) At first, Trump asserted that nothing happened, adding that the Secret Service agents also said nothing had occurred (they're not allowed to comment publicly, so this couldn't be confirmed). He stated his belief that Fields invented the story, reasoning that if his campaign manager really did lay hands on her, there should be video footage of it somewhere. (He was right). At his next primary night press conference, Trump made a point of bringing Lewandowski out on stage with him, congratulating him with a "good job, Corey." Now, a member of Trump's protective team is supposedly claiming that actually something did happen after all, but that it was her fault. That's an entirely new story from Lewandowski's initial 'I never touched you, you psycho' smeary denial. The release of that footage gathered by police in their pre-arrest investigation of Lewandowski forced Team Trump to careen from "it's a crazy hallucination" to "she deserved it."
(2) Let's say, for the sake of argument, that this unnamed Secret Service agent is telling the truth, and that Fields touched Trump after repeated instructions not to. If that's really what went down, why did Lewandowski elbow past a member of the security detail to manhandle Fields himself? Wouldn't it be, you know, the Secret Service's job to neutralize that "threat"? And even if Lewandowski managed to conjure up an excuse for going all 'muscle' and trying to do the federal bodyguards' work for them, why wasn't Fields' alleged conduct (disregarding warnings, brushing up against Trump) featured in his contemporaneous account? Instead, he went the 'categorical denial/you're crazy' route, which has now been unquestionably disproven. In case you're interested, here's the Secret Service's denial:
I asked if a USSS agent told a reporter that Fields presented a threat to Trump. "We wouldn't comment on an active criminal investigation."— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) March 29, 2016
(3) The sad irony here is that if Lewandowski had simply apologized at the time, it's a near certainty that we wouldn't be here today. He could have said, "in the heat of the moment, with all of the jostling, I didn't realize how hard I grabbed you, and I really apologize for that. It wasn't my intent to frighten or mistreat you, I was simply trying to help get my candidate out of the room." But he didn't. He lied and called Fields a liar. At which point Trump's relentless, fact-averse online army immediately kicked into flashmob gear, insisting that if Fields didn't file a criminal complaint, that would only "prove" that she was merely seeking attention. Guess what? They got their wish, goading her into triggering a police investigation that culminated in Lewandowski's arrest, based on the evidence ascertained and reviewed by the authorities. And yet it has come to this. Trump addressed the media moments ago, claiming that Lewandowski is the true "maligned" victim in all of this, and again accusing Fields of faking it:
Trump: “How do you know those bruises weren’t there before?”— Steve Peoples (@sppeoples) March 29, 2016
Video of Trump: "wouldn't you think that she would have yelled out or screamed if she had bruises on her arms?" https://t.co/RwW95NiyLt— andrew kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) March 29, 2016
In fact, according to the since-vindicated Washington Post reporter who personally witnessed the incident in real time, Fields was visibly shaken and crying after it happened. He personally saw the bruises:
"Finger-shaped bruises formed on her arm. 'I’m just a little spooked,' she said, a tear streaming down her face."https://t.co/m4bs1SSMJS— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 29, 2016
I'm sure this whole performance will all help mitigate Trump's historically-abysmal standing among female voters.
UPDATE - I discussed today's events on Fox's On The Record: