On March 8, 2016 Corey Lewandowski grabbed the arm of Michelle Fields, a reporter who was walking beside Donald Trump.
That is a fact, and at this point, no one disputes it. Here’s a timeline of the events. Why is this a big deal?
It didn’t have to be. If you look at the timeline, Fields was grabbed, and her boyfriend complains on twitter. The Trump campaign becomes aware of the complaint. This is the critical moment in this controversy. The Trump campaign has the choice in how to respond. The simplest thing would be for Lewandowski to call up Fields, and say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I grabbed you that hard. I certainly didn’t intend to hurt you. Please accept my apology.” If this happened, none of us would ever know about the incident.
But that is not what happened. Instead, they deny it. And they start to insinuate that she has been known to make up stuff, and she is just someone seeking attention.
In her defense, Fields tweets out pictures of her bruises. An eye witness steps forward- another reporter confirms Fields account.
Twitter gets involved. People say that if the incident was so bad, why didn’t she file a police report? There were tons of cameras, if the event happened, why didn’t anyone get video of it? Then audio of the incident comes out. Trump campaign is still denying everything. Then a few videos come out, none clearly show what happened, but you can see that Lewandowski was there. The Trump campaign story starts to change. Suddenly it might have been a Secret Service agent who grabbed Fields.
Eventually Fields does file a police report, and on March 19, 2016 the Jupiter PD serves a warrant for Lewandowski. They also release a security camera video that shows the incident. For the first time, we can all see what happened. We can’t feel what she felt, but we can see that Fields was walking beside Trump. Lewandowski approaches from behind and grabs her arm, hard enough to stop forward motion.
In an unsurprising move, the Trump campaign’s story changes again. They throw out all sorts of things, and Trump himself gets involved. He suggests that nothing really happened. He suggests that Lewandowski was trying to protect him, because she was holding something in her hand. He suggests that she was touching him, and maybe he should “sue” her for that. They suggest that Fields changed her story because the video didn’t show her falling to the ground. (She only claims that she almost lost her balance and fell to the ground, not that she actually fell.) And mostly he repeats that he is loyal to his people, so he won’t fire Lewandowski over this.
Let’s say that Fields has totally overblown this. Even that she created those bruises herself. There are still huge issues with how the Trump campaign handled this incident, ones which give you glimpse of what a Trump Presidential Administration would be like.
If Trump perceives an offense, he acts like a child. When an anti Trump PAC, which was not associated with Ted Cruz, published a tasteless ad with pictures of his wife, Trump threatened to “spill the beans” about Cruz’s wife, retweeted a demeaning photo of her, and generally made a jerk of himself for a couple of weeks about it. What happens when President Trump is offended? Presidents cannot be so thin skinned.
2. Trump is not a good judge of character. Lewandowski is not nice guy, he is a liar and a jerk. The Secret Service seemingly had no issues with Fields talking to Trump. There was no security threat. The only reason to grab her was to stop her from asking questions. But you can stop reporters without grabbing them. Then, he lied about the incident.
It might be understandable for Trump to not have realized what had happened. Even to have believed his campaign manger at first. But once that tape comes out, it is crystal clear that his manager lied about the event. He said he had never touched or or even met her. He personally tried to destroy her credibility. Now that there is video evidence that shows not only has Lewandowski met Fields, but he did in fact grab her… Trump should have admitted his campaign manger was less than truthful about the incident. Instead, he changed the story once again to help provide cover for his employee.
3. Trump will work to protect his people, even if they have done things that are wrong. Trump values loyalty over right and wrong. It is the changing story from the Trump campaign that is the most telling about his possible administration. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to change your story. What happens when a member of the Trump administration is accused of wrong doing? Will we see Trump using his bully pulpit to silence critics? Will he cover up and deflect facts so that his employees are protected? If allegations are proved to be true, will he continue to try to protect them, or will he do the right thing? His behavior in this incident indicates he will be more concerned with protecting his people than seeing truth come out and right be done.
This whole event could have been handled with an apology, they didn’t give one. Once it became clear that his employee had lied, Trump could have walked back his position, he didn’t. Trump and his campaign have bent over backwards to protect their employee. While loyalty is admirable, being loyal at the expense of truth and what is right is not.
UPDATE: Two reports have surfaced. 1. The DA has declined to prosecute Lewandowski. Already Trumpkins are touting this as proof that nothing happened. Even though video shows that something did, in fact, happen. In reality, it just means that the DA has decided not to prosecute. We don’t know what was said and done behind closed doors intros process. Which brings us to the 2nd rumor, one with Fields herself indicated was true… 2. Fields was asked if an apology from Lewandowski would suffice. Fields tweeted: “For those asking, office of prosecutor asked 2 weeks ago if I’d be ok with an apology from Corey. I said ya but haven’t heard back about it” If you remember, it was the insistence of trump supporters to either put up or shut up, referring to filing a police report, that pushed Fields to file a report. And the Police thought there was enough evidence to warrant an warrant, so to speak. Something happened.
All of this actually amplifies my point. Even after the arrest, Fields indicates she is willing to accept an apology to let it all go away. Short of an apology, she is now hinting at a civil suit for the smear Lewandowski did to her reputation. Let’s be clear, she’s not suing because he grabbed her, she would be suing because he publicly lied about what happened and tried to harm her reputation. All of this could have gone away if the Trump campaign would have simply apologized. Even if it was nothing, even if they were totally in the right. Be the bigger man, apologize. Simply say, “Hey, I didn’t realize you felt hurt by that. I am sorry. It was not my intention to harm you.” But no, and here we are weeks later still talking about what I’m sure Trump thinks is nothing. Poorly handled, on all levels, by his campaign.