Donald Trump's campaign manager said he tried to reach out to Michelle Fields the night she accused him of battery
In a CNN interview, Corey Lewandowski assigned blame for the controversy to his accuser
Donald Trump’s campaign manager said he was “pleased” on Friday that he would not be prosecuted for charges stemming from an incident with a reporter at a campaign event in March.
Corey Lewandowski assigned blame for the controversy to his accuser, then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields, saying he had tried to call her on the night in question to clear things up but did not hear back.
“Well, obviously I’m very pleased,” Lewandowski said of the Palm Beach County attorney’s decision not to prosecute in an interview on CNN’s “New Day” with Chris Cuomo. He also praised his boss’s loyalty throughout the case.
“First and foremost, I want to thank Mr. Trump for his loyalty and his dedication to his staff and to me specifically, because a lesser person, another politician, would have terminated me on the spot,” he said. “And so I’m so thankful to Mr. Trump for his loyalty to me.”
Saying “it should have never gotten to this point,” Lewandowski revealed he had tried reaching out to Fields the night the incident occurred in order to resolve the situation after learning of the burgeoning controversy online.
“Well let me say this – that night, and this was never reported, but I called Michelle Fields,” he said. “Because I didn’t know what happened, honestly, and the interaction with Michelle Fields lasted the sum total of about three seconds of my entire life. I never met her before, and the only time I’ve ever interacted with her is on that video tape.”
“Three seconds may sound like a long time, but it was a brief interaction and it wasn’t memorable to me, and I’m sorry about that.”
Lewandowski continued, “That evening, after I read her boyfriend’s Twitter account, saying that something had occurred, I made a phone call to Michelle. And I never heard back and to this day I’ve never heard back from Michelle.”
And the campaign manager repeated his claim that Fields exaggerated the incident to raise her own profile, saying, “it’s not that we didn’t try to reach out to get to the bottom of it, it seems to me that she wanted to inject herself into making it a story, and now I’m glad the story is over.”
Cuomo also pressed Lewandowski to respond to reports of shakeups within the campaign in the wake of the controversy surrounding his charges and a series of setbacks in primary contests.
“Who’s the man?” Cuomo asked, referring to new hire Paul Manafort, who joined the Trump campaign to manage convention strategy and delegate accumulation.
Lewandowski replied, “Donald Trump’s the man.”
“Below him, who’s the man? Who’s running stuff?” Cuomo continued.
“I work for Donald Trump and everyone knows that,” he answered. “Look, campaign is about growth, and we cannot be successful in this campaign if we don’t grow. Paul Manafort is a great, well-respected operative who has a proven record of going out delegate hunting and making sure we’ve got the best political operation in place. That’s Paul’s role.”