On Tuesday, the state of Florida officially charged Donald Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with battery for allegedly grabbing former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields by the arm, which left bruises. The incident occurred on March 8 in Jupiter, as Trump was leaving a press conference. Fields approached him for comment, and appeared to be swiftly grabbed by someone. The charges came after video footage was released Tuesday morning which appeared to show Lewandowski was the manhandler. Trump took to Twitter to defend Lewandowski, stating, "Wow, Corey Lewandowski, my campaign manager and a very decent man, was just charged with assaulting a reporter. Look at tapes — nothing there!" But later, in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Trump admitted that Lewandowski "maybe brushed her aside."
Following the initial incident, Fields tweeted the photo of her arm to both Trump and Lewandowski, stating "I guess these just magically appeared on me ... So weird." Lewandowski responded by calling Fields "delusional," and Trump has stood by his campaign manager. He said that if Lewandowski had thrown Fields to the ground, he would have fired him immediately. Trump told Hannity, "So she grabs me and then he maybe brushed her aside, and we’re going to destroy his life for that? I don’t think so." The GOP presidential frontrunner claimed that Fields has changed her story since the video footage was released. He brought a piece of paper with him to read out loud on CNN with the reporter's original statement. She says her story has not changed.
Trump also joked both on Twitter and on CNN Tuesday night that Fields touched his arm first, so maybe he should press charges against her: "My arm, it's never been the same folks. Never been the same." He earlier claimed to Hannity that Fields had something in her hand when she initially approached him, but they were unsure what it was. "It looked like it could have been a pen ... But you know, from the standpoint of where we are, who knows what it is," he said. Probably a safe assumption, Mr. Trump.
CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Trump on Tuesday whether his campaign manager should be laying his hands on anyone, to which the candidate responded with ... nothing. Since Fields came forward about the assault, she has been flooded with harassing messages from Trump supporters on social media — a serious problem facing women online. While Trump will likely continue to say whatever he wants without consequence, the people he targets will continue to take the heat.