Despite Donald Trump’s recent assertion that his campaign rallies are “love fests,” it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the recurring pattern of violence at Trump-sponsored events. While some blame has been leveled at the increasing levels of enmity between protesters and Trump supporters, others have pointed fingers of blame at the highest echelons of the campaign, including Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. In fact, Lewandowski – who was recently accused of assaulting a reporter at a Trump rally – is involved in controversy yet again after he was observed in a scuffle with a protester on Saturday.
As reported by Mediaite and other news outlets, Corey Lewandowski was caught on video confronting a protester at an event in Tucson, Arizona. The clip appears to show Lewandowski and another man engaging in a heated conversation with a young man. The young man attempts to walk away but is grabbed by the collar and pulled backwards before being led off camera.
Here is Donald Trump’s campaign manager in the Tucson crowd grabbing the collar of a protester. pic.twitter.com/JZ9RntWlHY
— Jacqueline Alemany (@JaxAlemany) March 19, 2016
Shortly after word of the incident was reported on social media, and via mainstream outlets, Donald Trump’s campaign issued a statement in the matter, not only denying that Corey Lewandowski acted inappropriately, but also disputing that Lewandowski even touched the protester despite the scene that appears on video. The statement, attributed to Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks, was re-published by the Guardian and other sources.
“Corey Lewandowski was speaking with a protestor at today’s rally in Tucson, Arizona when the individual he was speaking with was pulled from behind by the man to Lewandowski’s left. The video clearly shows the protestor reacting to the man who pulled him, not to Mr. Lewandowski. Mr. Trump does not condone violence at his rallies, which are private events paid for by the campaign.”
The Tucson incident is the second altercation attributed to Corey Lewandowski over the course of recent weeks. As previously noted by The Hill, Brietbart reporter Michelle Fields alleged that Lewandowski grabbed her by the arm and pulled on her to prevent the journalist from posing a question to the billionaire candidate following a campaign event. She later displayed bruises that she said were the result of the scuffle. Fields subsequently resigned from Brietbart, alleging that the news organization did not support her allegations and she has filed criminal charges against Corey Lewandowski.
According to Politico, Corey Lewandowski has also been a lightning rod for controversy within the Trump campaign itself. In a report published earlier this week, a contingent of Trump staffers contemplated an ouster of Lewandowski in February over allegations that the campaign manager has been “sexually suggestive” with female journalists and verbally abusive to fellow conservatives. A number of complaints from Lewandowski’s previous work with the group Americans For Prosperity were also cited in the Politico piece, including a 2012 incident in which he allegedly threatened to blow up someone’s car.
In addition to his integral role in the Trump presidential campaign, Corey Lewandowski is also expected to play an important role in the Republican National Convention this summer. Earlier in the week, he confirmed to CNN that he will serve as a delegate at the event, where he will cast a vote for Donald Trump on behalf of his home state of New Hampshire.
[Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images]