Enough. It’s time to stand up to bullies so viscerally opposed to Donald Trump that they have now targeted Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in a deliberate attempt to ruin his life.
It is wrong. Disgracefully wrong. And I would respectfully suggest to Trump supporters, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats and Independents who agree — Americans one and all — that it is time to fight back. It is at long last time to turn the tables.
Let’s start with the obvious. Corey Lewandowski made a mistake — and he knows it and has said so. In this interview with the Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty, Corey acknowledged a wisdom that every campaign manager and staffer should know and take to heart. Said Corey, referring to the incident in Tucson where he was seen touching the collar of a protester:
“When I see something that I think isn’t right, I think I have some kind of, for right or wrong, an obligation to fix it,” Lewandowski said.”I thought [the protesters’ disruption] was wrong.”
He added: “My job is not to do that. And I need to stay focused on my job.”
Exactly. In fact, a close look of the video at that Tucson rally shows the protester in question physically assaulting (that word again) the young woman in front of him (and she instantly wheels around to strike him back). But never mind. As Corey himself now correctly notes: “My job is not to do that. And I need to stay focused on my job.”
But he did in fact do this in the incident at hand with Michelle Fields. The video is there in the link to the Washington Post Tumulty/Corey interview. But all too frequently this still photo goes unmentioned. It clearly shows Michelle Fields violating the number one rule when in the presence of a president or presidential candidate. To wit: don’t touch the candidate. Why is that a rule for anybody — not just journalists — in that kind of situation? Why is it that, according to this news report, the Secret Service was so alarmed that “Fields was warned twice not to touch Trump but did so anyway”?
The reason presidential candidates have Secret Service protection in the first place is that in 1968 presidential candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot to death in the middle of exactly the kind of press/staff/onlooker scrum that Trump was in the middle of that night with Michelle Fields. Congress, appalled at RFK’s assassination, passed legislation providing Secret Service protection for presidential candidates. But even having Secret Service protection is no guarantee. Ronald Reagan — then the incumbent president in March of 1981 — was shot in the chest as he emerged from the Washington Hilton hotel. The would-be assassin, John Hinckley Jr. — who seriously wounded Reagan’s press secretary Jim Brady, a Secret Service agent, and a Washington, D.C. police officer — had melded into the middle of another press scrum like the one Trump was in. Worse still, in the Reagan case the press was in a roped off area — and Hinckley still managed to get in the middle of the mix. As with Michelle Fields and Trump, out came the hand towards Reagan — but this time it held a gun.
To say these situations where presidential candidates move around at the center of these press scrums are edgy is an understatement. I have been in them. Hence one learns: never, never make sudden moves, never touch the candidate. Ever. Be that as it may, Michelle Fields did exactly that, as that still photo vividly illustrates. Take a good look at Trump in that photo — his eyes are looking down at her hand resting on his arm. And take another look at the video — where one can see him reflexively yank his arm away from her grasp. Trump himself has posted this still photo from the video on his Twitter account here, saying the following:
Victory press conference was over.
Why is she allowed to grab me and shout questions? Can I press charges?
Take a good look at that still from the video. Trump posted an even closer close-up of the moment, here, asking:
Why is this reporter touching me as I leave news conference? What is in her hand??
What was in her hand was a pen. In a day and age when one is forced to strip oneself of everything including pens when being searched by the TSA at any airport in America, yes indeed, a pen is seen by authorities as a potentially lethal weapon. That particular still photo linked above on Trump’s Twitter feed tells the truth of the moment exactly. Fields has violated Trump’s personal space, touched him, he yanks his arm away from her — and there is Corey Lewandowski standing inches away — watching. In a heartbeat, reflexively, Corey then reaches out to yank her arm away.
It is crystal clear that Corey had no vendetta going. He simply and reflexively responded.
I’ve met Michelle Fields but once on a Sean Hannity TV show. I’ve always thought of her as a solid professional, a journalist’s journalist. I have nothing but tremendous respect for her. But I have to say I think her reaction here is way, way over the line. The equivalent of swatting a flea with a bazooka. But don’t listen to me. Listen to Greta Van Susteren, who said this over on her Gretawire blog:
The incident between Donald Trump’s campaign manager seems like a routine pushing and shoving dustup that should have been resolved with apologies, not allegations of a crime.
Greta, ever sensible, is exactly right. Piers Morgan, another journalist’s journalist has tweeted this:
This constitutes a criminal charge of ‘battery’?
How utterly pathetic.
And also this:
If a male reporter tried to claim this was ‘battery’, he’d be rightly mocked.
To Morgan’s point exactly? Here’s a clip of then-CBS correspondent Dan Rather being roughed up by security officials on the floor of the 1968 Democratic Convention. This was on live TV and clearly Rather is pushed, hit, and shoved to the floor for real. Suffice to say, he did not sue. The Fields incident doesn’t even come close to the assault on Dan Rather.
So. What to do? Let’s start with what not to do. That would be for sixteen self-described “Female Media Members” to put out a statement that — and I say this respectfully to my colleagues on this list — embarrasses them and is incredibly condescending to Michelle Fields. (Link to letter here.)
Again, here’s Greta, as reported by Jennifer Harper in the Washington Times:
“It is stunning — Lewandowski has not had a trial and these women have convicted him. We have a judicial system in this country not mob rule. As an aside, I have tried many, many, many criminal cases and I will tell you this: There is reasonable doubt in this one. This is a very easy defense case. Don’t believe me? Ask any lawyer,” Ms. Van Susteren wrote on her personal blog.
“And now look what these women have done to their own work covering the campaigns! These women reporters may want to pull themselves off the presidential campaign coverage since they have obviously shown their bias. They need to ask themselves — can they be fair in all their presidential campaign coverage based on this? There is a big difference between waiting for a jury to decide facts and a verdict whether a crime has been committed and just taking sides and calling for someone’s head,” the Fox News host concluded.
Note that phrase from Greta? This one, in which she describes the letter as a demand for “mob rule.” I second Greta. This entire incident now smacks of the lynch mob gathering menacingly around Corey Lewandowski with the crowd shouting “get the rope!”
And worse? As the Boston Herald reveals here:
The Florida prosecutor whose office is handling the battery case involving Donald Trump’s campaign manager is a long-time Democrat and former state senator who’s now part of Hillary Clinton’s so-called Florida leadership “council.”
… [Dave] Aronberg, who was elected to the post in 2012, has been listed as a member of Clinton’s “Florida Leadership Council” since November, along with several state senators, representatives and local elected officials. He also gave $1,000 to Clinton’s campaign in January, according to campaign finance records.
The game afoot here is to so blacken Corey Lewandowski’s reputation — not to mention send him to prison for a year — that his life (a life where he is the father of four children- family values, anyone?) is effectively destroyed. This is disgraceful. No conservative — no one who truly cares about ordered liberty and freedom — should be silent about this. Much less should they participate in it.
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