Last week, Donald Trump’s campaign manager probably assaulted a reporter. According to multiple witnesses and partial video evidence, Corey Lewandowski grabbed former Breitbart staffer Michelle Fields’s arm and yanked her toward the floor with bruising force. Lewandowski has disputed those accounts. But what’s indisputable is that Lewandowski’s response to a woman having her arm bruised by someone at a press scrum was to publicly denounce her as delusional and treat the fact that she had once made sexual-harassment allegations against a congressman as proof that she is an “attention seeker.”
That response almost made it seem like Lewandowski is a bully who enjoys demeaning women. But does that really sound like the kind of person women’s-health advocate Donald Trump would hire to run his campaign? Alas, a new report from Politico suggests that this one time, the GOP front-runner’s extraordinary judgment may have failed him.
Before piloting the Trump train, Lewandowski was an operative with the Koch-brothers-backed advocacy group Americans for Prosperity. While Lewandowski rose quickly through the organization’s ranks and was admired by some of his co-workers as a “cowboy” with that “cool factor,” he also “boasted about threatening to ‘blow up’ the car of the organization’s chief financial officer over a late expense reimbursement check.” And then there was his relationship with an unnamed female underling:
The relationship ― and patience for Lewandowski within AFP ― reached a tipping point in October 2013. On the sidelines of a meeting of the group’s board in Manhattan, Lewandowski loudly berated the employee for challenging his authority, getting in her personal space and calling her a “c—” in front of a group of AFP employees, including some senior officials, according to three sources who either witnessed the exchange or dealt with its aftermath.
According to Politico, Lewandowski’s affinity for belittling women has not dissipated on the campaign trail.
Additionally, reporters told POLITICO that Lewandowski has made sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to ― and about ― female journalists who have covered Trump’s presidential bid. One reporter who was on the receiving end of such comments described them as “completely inappropriate in a professional setting.”
This, along with Lewandowski’s penchant for verbally abusing other Trump staffers and controlling all access to the candidate, inspired a group of current and former campaign members to try to engineer his ouster. The rebels planned to deliver a letter outlining their concerns about Lewandowski to Trump’s head of security, right around the time of the South Carolina primary, Politico reports. But then Trump won South Carolina. And then he won Nevada. And then he completed his transition from laughingstock to presumptive GOP nominee. And the would-be mutineers gave up hope that the Donald would fire the manager who accompanied him on that rise.
But surely, at some point, Trump will realize his error and purge his campaign of any and all misogynistic elements. After all, what indication has the GOP front-runner ever given that he is willing to tolerate bullying or sexism?