Donald Trump’s campaign denied accusations on Thursday that his campaign manager had forcibly grabbed Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields after a press conference on Tuesday.
Fields said she was yanked out of the way by campaign manager Corey Lewandowski when she asked Trump a question about affirmative action as the candidate was making his way around the room and taking questions from reporters after the televised press conference.
In a statement issued Thursday, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks denied the account.
“The accusation, which has only been made in the media and never addressed directly with the campaign, is entirely false. As one of dozens of individuals present as Mr. Trump exited the press conference I did not witness any encounter,” Hicks said. “In addition to our staff, which had no knowledge of said situation, not a single camera or reporter of more than 100 in attendance captured the alleged incident.”
Washington Post reporter Ben Terris said he witnessed it.
“I watched as a man with short-cropped hair and a suit grabbed her arm and yanked her out of the way. He was Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s 41-year-old campaign manager,” Terris wrote. “Fields stumbled. Finger-shaped bruises formed on her arm.”
Politico also published a transcript obtained from an audio recording that appears to support Fields’ account.
Lewandowski called Fields an “attention seeker” and questioned her credibility by referencing previous incidents when she said she was assaulted while reporting. As a reporter for the Daily Caller, Fields said she was struck by New York police officers while covering Occupy Wall Street in 2011.
“Michelle Fields is an attention seeker who once claimed Allen West groped her but later went silent,” he said on Twitter on Thursday afternoon.
He linked to an anonymously sourced report that said Fields had been harassed by colleague and former congressman Allen West. The report said Fields refused to comment about the claims on the record. Lewandowski also linked to an opinion piece that compared Fields’ account to a “fake rape style incident.”
Breitbart News CEO and President Larry Solov defended Fields against the accusations.
“We are disappointed in the campaign’s response, in particular their effort to demean Michelle’s previous reporting,” Solov said in a statement on Thursday. “Michelle Fields is an intrepid reporter who has covered tough and dangerous stories. We stand behind her reporting, her techniques, and call again on Corey Lewandowski to apologize.”
Fields, meanwhile, responded with a picture showing bruises on her arm.
“I guess these just magically appeared on me,” she said. “So weird.”
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