The man orchestrating Donald Trumps rise by letting the candidate be himself has entered the spotlight after allegedly assaulting a reporter and its not the first time he has courted controversy
When Donald Trump decided towards the end of 2014 to make a bid for the most powerful job in the world, one of his first tasks was to appoint a manager to run his presidential campaign. The name he landed on was pure Trump: a former lobbyist for the seafood industry who had never run a national campaign, who had staged debates in public with a cardboard cutout, and whose only claim to fame was sneaking a gun into the US Capitol.
And so it came to pass that Corey Lewandowski became the behind-the-scenes mastermind of one of the most bewildering political campaigns in history. In no small part, Trumps unlikely rise from maverick outsider to frontrunner on the verge of securing the Republican party nomination must be credited to this 42-year-old, who himself has undergone an astonishing ascent from the relative obscurity of New Hampshire politics to stand at the real estate billionaires side.
Lewandowskis approach to the campaign is summed up in a simple slogan that so far has proved to be devastatingly effective: Let Trump be Trump. As the Wall Street Journal noted, he has scrawled the phrase over a white board in his office in Trump Tower. Yet the dynamic could just as well be reversed: Trump has run his campaign under the rubric Let Lewandowski be Lewandowski.
That logic was played out this week when Trump continued to defend Lewandowski even after his campaign manager had committed the cardinal sin of any political sidekick by becoming the story. On Tuesday, police in Jupiter, Florida, charged the aide with simple battery after Lewandowski was accused by a reporter for a pro-Trump rightwing website of forcefully grabbing her at a rally.
The details of the alleged incident are grubby. The former reporter for Breitbart, Michelle Fields, was trailing after Trump asking him questions at the end of a press conference on 8 March when she was suddenly yanked by the arm by a man with a buzzcut answering to the description of Lewandowski. A social media firestorm ensued in which Trumps campaign manager accused Fields of being delusional as I never touched you, only to have the reporter post a picture of her bruised arm.
The subsequent release by Jupiter police of video footage captured by Trumps own security cameras at the hotel venue clearly showed Lewandowski grabbing Fields and pulling her away from the candidate.