Florida police apparently went to the tape and decided that Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, should be charged for putting his hands on a female reporter earlier this month. The police called it a simple assault, a misdemeanor.
The incident happened at a campaign stop March 8 at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla.
Michelle Fields, working for Breitbart News at the time, walked up to Trump after the event and tried to ask him a question. Lewandowski, walking behind her, grabbed her, the videotape appears to show.
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Afterward, Fields tweeted a photo of the bruises she said Lewandowski left on her arm.
A Washington Post reporter, Ben Terris, corroborated Fields’ claim. Lewandowski responded on Twitter.
On Tuesday, Trump defended his $20,000-a-month employee.
Fields later resigned from the conservative Breitbart website, saying the organization didn’t support her. Three other Breitbart staffers also quit.
A few days later, on March 19, Lewandowski was involved in another physical incident when he was accused of grabbing a young protester’s collar at a Trump rally in Tuscon, Ariz.
So who is this 42-year-old veteran political operative leading the Trump campaign?
In many ways and by many accounts, the husband of a former schoolteacher and father of four is just like his boss.
▪ Described as: Relentless, ruthless, aggressive, bomb-thrower, shady, cowboy, hothead, a natural at politics. Lewandowski denied part of a Politico investigation that said he once threatened to “blow up” a co-worker’s car over a late expense reimbursement check.
▪ Humble beginnings: “The grandson of a union printer, Lewandowski grew up poor in the 1980s in the hardscrabble mill city of Lowell, Mass., playing pond hockey in the winters and going on to graduate from the city’s branch of the University of Massachusetts,” writes Politico.
▪ Fan of Ronnie: He became a Republican because he liked Ronald Reagan’s politics and even named one of his children Reagan.
▪ Chugs: Red Bull.
▪ Issues with women?: Politico reported that Lewandowski has been accused of making inappropriate and vulgar comments on the campaign trail, some aimed at female journalists.
▪ Not his first run-in with the law: The New York Daily News reports that he was arrested in 1999 for bringing a loaded, unlicensed pistol into a congressional office building. Court documents show that he had three pistol magazines and several rounds of ammunition when he was arrested. He was later acquitted.
▪ Used to work for: Americans for Prosperity, the advocacy group of the Koch brothers. While he was running its voter registration efforts, the group was investigated for voter suppression, according to The Daily Beast.
▪ He’s been a candidate: He ran for a state representative seat in 1994 while he was a political science undergrad. He lost. In 2012 he ran for town treasurer of his adopted hometown of Windham, N.H., and lost again.
▪ He’s a “stunt” man: During the 2010 midterm elections he debated a cardboard cut-out of New Hampshire’s sitting Democratic governor, John Lynch, on the steps of the state Capitol at a Tax Day rally.
▪ Anti-establishment attitude: He’s worked on many political campaigns, for Democrats and Republicans, some considered outsiders and renegades like Trump. Lewandowski has a reported disdain of “country club Republicans.”
▪ How he met Trump: They met in April 2014 backstage at an Americans for Prosperity “freedom summit” in New Hampshire. The story goes that Trump found a kindred spirit in Lewandowski; one campaign insider jokes that the two found each other on Match.com. (Lewandowski even wears suits all the time like his boss.) In January 2015 Lewandowski quit his job with AFP and signed up, on the spot, with Trump’s campaign, taking the job without telling his wife.
During the job interview Trump asked Lewandowski whether he was “better than all the campaign managers out there.”
He replied: “I think I am, and I’ll work harder than any of them.”
▪ Backseat driver: The reported golden rule of the Trump campaign is “Let Trump be Trump.” In an interview with The Washington Post, Lewandowski likened his boss to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. “When you have a horse like that, American Pharoah, you have to let him do his thing. Let him run his race.”
▪ Making big bucks: He’s making a reported $20,000 a month to run the campaign. “Corey has mouths to feed, and a business opportunity to go and make $20,000 a month doesn’t come around every day,” former New Hampshire Republican chairman Fergus Cullen told Politico, adding that Lewandowski supports a family of six. His wife, Alison, is a former teacher.
▪ Curious counsel: He is due in court May 4. One of his defense lawyers, Kendall Coffey, resigned from his post as U.S. attorney in 1996 over reports that he bit a stripper in Miami.
▪ Double-duty at convention: He will be one of Trump’s delegates to the Republican National Convention in July. His name was on a list of 11 delegates and 11 alternates provided last month to the New Hampshire secretary of state.