Calling Corey Lewandowski’s treatment of former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields “inexcusable and “unprofessional,” 16 prominent conservative journalists penned a letter to the Trump campaign on Wednesday urging the Republican frontrunner to fire his campaign manager.
“Never in this line of work is it acceptable to respond to reasonable and legitimate questioning with use of physical force,” the letter reads. “The photographs, audio, videos, and witness accounts documenting the treatment of Michelle Fields by Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, are inexcusable and unprofessional. Donald Trump should immediately remove Lewandowski from his campaign.”
Lewandowski was charged with battery on Tuesday, three weeks after he allegedly grabbed Fields during a press event. He has continued to deny that the incident occurred, despite a video released Tuesday that clearly shows the interaction. And Trump has defended him by arguing that the tape doesn’t show anything and claiming that journalists shouldn’t be asking questions. Trump has even gone so far as to accuse Fields of attempting to assault him.
Read the entire letter:
Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson said Tuesday that even if he’s convicted of the charges, Lewandowski will not be fired. But the 16 journalists wrote that his removal is necessary to “highlight the difference between right and wrong.”
Included in the letter’s signatures are Katie Pavlich and Meghan McCain, contributors to Fox News, a network that has defended Lewandowski’s actions. After the charges were announced Tuesday, Fox News ran a segment featuring two legal experts who argued that the battery did not warrant legal action.
“Technically, it’s there,” said Wiehl, an adjunct law professor at New York Law School. “But I don’t know if I were a prosecutor if I would have charged that. I would definitely talk to the quote-un-quote victim, but when you’re in a place like that and you’re shouting like that and you’re moving forward, it’s not necessarily… yes, it’s a chargeable offense, but I don’t think I would have charged it.”
Former Morris County prosecutor Robert Bianchi added: “There was no serious injury here. It is a political environment. You know, it’s a contact sport.”
The letter is especially significant given that Breitbart, Fields’ former employer, did not defend her following the incident. In fact, it cast doubt on her account of the incident at the time and claimed that she may have been making it up. Fields and three other Breitbart staff members resigned because of the company’s response. Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro said at the time that the site should be “ashamed” of “their treatment” of Fields.
After the security footage was released on Tuesday, Joel Pollak, the senior editor-at-large who initially told other staff members to stop posting about the incident on social media, apologized on Twitter. “That’s pretty conclusive, even with the freeze framing,” he wrote. “Clearly I was wrong.”