The Corner

Politics & Policy

Video Destroys Trump Campaign Spin as Michelle Fields Files Criminal Charges

Yesterday, I wrote a lengthy post outlining the charges and countercharges between Breitbart’s Michelle Fields and the Donald Trump campaign. Fields claimed that Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, yanked her away from Trump when she tried to ask him a question about affirmative action, bruising her arm and almost causing her to fall. Fields tweeted a photo of the bruises, and a Washington Post reporter backed her account — as did an audio recording of the event.

The Trump campaign responded with scorched earth. Not only did it release a statement falsely claiming that no other reporter witnessed the incident, Lewandowski himself spewed forth a vile series of tweets that not only implied Fields was a fabulist, he also implied that she’d made up a sexual harassment charge in the recent past. The campaign demanded to see video evidence. 

Well, here it is — at the eight second mark, Lewandowski can be seen reaching for Fields:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=QM-fJGYPUoo

Slowed-down video shows Lewandowski reaching more clearly, and now Fields has filed a criminal complaint. As I said before, the Trump campaign’s behavior has been reprehensible. When faced with a credible, corroborated claim of mistreatment, a responsible campaign pledges to investigate and treats the alleged victim with respect. Instead, the campaign chose to lie and — even worse — to attempt to ruin Fields’s reputation.

At the same time, Breitbart has hardly covered itself in glory. While it’s standing by Fields now, it published a (now much-updated) article that stated, embarrassingly:

New video of Donald Trump’s press conference Tuesday evening shows that the Washington Post’s account of an altercation involving Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields could not possibly have happened as Ben Terris reported.

Could not possibly have happened? That’s a strong — and now unsupportable — statement. Breitbart’s public relations executive, Kurt Bardella, has resigned, stating in an email:

“When you reach a point where you can’t give 100% to people you represent, it’s not tenable to continue representing them,” Bardella wrote. “My own personal observation is that there is a cycle of behavior that is escalating and it’s happening exclusively at Donald Trump events. It is wrong, disgusting and indicative of an ugliness that is contaminating the public and political discourse in our country. Life is too short to invest your time in things you don’t believe and aren’t passionate about. That is why I made the decision to resign from representing Breitbart.”

Breitbart has been key to Trump’s rise, and now it has enabled attacks on its own reporter’s credibility when her story conflicted with the campaign’s. It is difficult to associate with thugs without being stained.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Most Popular

Energy & Environment

The Climate Trap for Democrats

The more the climate debate changes, the more it stays the same. Polls show that the public is worried about climate change, but that doesn’t mean that it is any more ready to bear any burden or pay any price to combat it. If President Donald Trump claws his way to victory again in Pennsylvania and the ... Read More
Elections

Kamala Harris Runs for Queen

I’m going to let you in on a secret about the 2020 presidential contest: Unless unforeseen circumstances lead to a true wave election, the legislative stakes will be extremely low. The odds are heavily stacked against Democrats’ retaking the Senate, and that means that even if a Democrat wins the White House, ... Read More
Culture

What We’ve Learned about Jussie Smollett

It’s been a few weeks since March 26, when all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and the actor declared that his version of events had been proven correct. How’s that going? Smollett’s celebrity defenders have gone quiet. His publicists and lawyers are dodging reporters. The @StandwithJussie ... Read More
Politics & Policy

But Why Is Guatemala Hungry?

I really, really don’t want to be on the “Nicolas Kristof Wrote Something Dumb” beat, but, Jiminy Cricket! Kristof has taken a trip to Guatemala, with a young woman from Arizona State University in tow. “My annual win-a-trip journey,” he writes. Reporting from Guatemala, he discovers that many ... Read More