I never sought to be part of the story.
On Tuesday night, I went to cover Donald Trump’s press conference at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida. I was looking to cover the event like I have covered many live political events for Breitbart News, including an uneventful Trump press conference in Palm Beach the week before.
Addressing the gathered reporters and the nation at large, Trump was in an especially jovial mood Tuesday night. The networks just declared he had won the Mississippi Republican primary and, during his speech, that he won Michigan Republican primary as well.
I wasn’t called upon to ask a question during the televised press conference, but afterwards Trump wandered around, stopping at every reporter to take their questions. When he approached me, I asked him about his view on an aspect of affirmative action.
Trump acknowledged the question, but before he could answer I was jolted backwards. Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down. I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken.
The Washington Post’s Ben Terris immediately remarked that it was Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who aggressively tried to pull me to the ground. I quickly turned around and saw Lewandowski and Trump exiting the building together. No apology. No explanation for why he did this.
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.
During a discussion with Breitbart's Matt Boyle and reported by The Daily Beast, Lewandowski admitted to grabbing Fields and made the excuse that he didn't realize she worked for Breitbart, a Trump friendly outlet. He also left Fields with a bruise.
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. Trump’s press secretary, Hope Hicks, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
The Trump campaign and Trump himself have refused to condemn Lewandowski's actions and haven't issued official comment.
Cruz fires his campaign manager for a tweet. Trump aide on the other hand, can physically assault a journalist & he doesn't comment.— Jack in NYC (@talkradio200) March 10, 2016