Trump’s Campaign Manager Involved in Altercation at Rally
Donald Trump’s campaign manager appeared to grab a protester by his collar during a rally Saturday in an incident captured on video.
Multiple videos, including CNN’s footage, show campaign manager Corey Lewandowski reaching for the man’s collar as a member of Trump’s security detail also grabs him from behind.
“Corey Lewandowski was speaking with a protester 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,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in response to a CNN inquiry, referring to a member of Trump’s private security detail.
“The video clearly shows the protester reacting to the man who pulled him, not to Mr. Lewandowski,” Hicks said, adding that Trump “does not condone violence at his rallies, which are private events paid for by the campaign.”
Lewandowski and the young man appear to exchange words in the moments before the altercation. Hicks said Lewandowski “simply asked the protester to leave.”
“Instead of exiting, the protester grabbed the woman in front of him (in the green shirt), which is when the man to Corey’s left and many others in the scene react to her wincing,” Hicks said.
The protester had been asked to leave once prior to the altercation, according to two sources familiar with the incident. He was able to gain entry back inside before Lewandowski and security removed him for a second time, the sources said.
Trump on Sunday called Lewandowski’s involvement in ejecting protesters “spirited.”
“Security at the arena, the police were a little bit lax. And he had signs — they had signs up in that area that were horrendous, that I cannot say what they said on the sign,” Trump said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I give (Lewandowski) credit for having spirit. He wanted them to take down those horrible profanity-laced signs.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Sunday campaign officials should avoid “getting involved in confrontations.”
“Getting involved is not the answer. I think you leave these things up to the professionals. You’ve got professional police; you’ve got Secret Service,” Priebus told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
This is not the first time Lewandowski used physical violence on the campaign trail. He is turning out to be Trump’s #1 thug.
Protests at Trump rallies do not occur in a vacuum. Since he first announced his candidacy, Trump continues to make racist, sexist, and authoritarian remarks that marginalizes anyone who do not meet his view of white and conservative enough. A full list of protests can be found here.