After claiming she had been assaulted by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields resigned, along with editor-at-large Ben Shapiro.
Fields told Buzzfeed News, “Today I informed the management at Breitbart News of my immediate resignation. I do not believe Breitbart News has adequately stood by me during the events of the past week and because of that I believe it is now best for us to part ways.”
“Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed,” Shaprio told Buzzfeed. “Indeed, Breitbart News, under the chairmanship of Steve Bannon, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew’s legacy. In my opinion, Steve Bannon is a bully, and has sold out Andrew’s mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump; he has shaped the company into Trump’s personal Pravda, to the extent that he abandoned and undercut his own reporter, Breitbart News’ Michelle Fields, in order to protect Trump’s bully campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who allegedly assaulted Michelle.”
- Andrew Breitbart was the founder of Breitbart News. He died of heart failure in March 2012.
Fields alleges she was assaulted by Lewandowski at a Trump rally at the Trump National Golf Resort in Jupiter, FL on March 8. She filed a criminal complaint with the local police department on Friday. Fields wrote about the incident on the Breitbart website and said that after she had asked Trump a question about affirmative action, “Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down. I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken.”
Breitbart management downplayed the allegation and even took sides with the Trump campaign, agreeing with the campaign that it was probably a security person who grabbed Fields, not campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. In a post about the event, Joel Pollack, editor-at-large for Breitbart.com, said, “Given the similarity in appearance between Lewandowski and the security official, and given the fact that Lewandowski was walking on the other side of Trump from where Fields was at the time, the possibility of mistaken identity cannot be ruled out. Indeed, given Lewandowski’s adamant denials (coupled with statements inappropriately impugning Fields’s character), it is the likeliest explanation.”
But there is one witness who saw the event unfold and confirmed that it was Lewandowski who grabbed Fields. Ben Terris of the Washington Post was there and said he saw what happened and who was responsible. Several videos from news outlets have come to light showing the moments before, during and after the alleged assault, but none of them show Lewandowski actually grabbing Fields, although in one we can clearly see the reporter had been yanked out of the frame.
This alleged incident became relevant news, in light of all the violence that has occurred at Trump rallies lately. One rally in Chicago, IL was postponed by the Trump Campaign due to threats of violence. They released a statement on Friday, saying “Mr. Trump just arrived in Chicago, and after meeting with law enforcement, has determined that for the safety of all of the tens of thousands of people that have gathered in and around the arena, tonight’s rally will be postponed to another date. Thank you very much for your attendance and please go in peace.”
Another protestor who was being escorted from a rally in North Carolina on Wednesday was sucker punched by a Trump Supporter, John McGraw, who is 78 years old. McGraw was arrested for the assault, which was caught on video by several people. Afterwards he told Inside Edition, “He deserved it. The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.”
Trump told Chuck Todd of NBC’s Meet the Press he is looking into paying McGraw’s legal fees.
Critics from both the left and right — including all the candidates — have blamed Trump for instigating the violence when he says he would like to punch some protestors in the face, or that in the good old days protestors were carried out on stretchers and that he is offering to pay the legal fees of his supporters who get in trouble for being violent towards protestors.
Many people on both sides of the political spectrum believe Trump’s campaign has taken presidential politics — American politics in general — to a new level, using the language of bullies and the immediacy of social media to spread his message of exclusion, xenophobia and racism to a largely white audience that thinks its country is being taken away from them by immigrants and people of color. Trump’s message has resonated with white supremacists in particular, who Trump was reluctant to denounce after David Duke expressed his support for the candidate. Duke told his followers that if they didn’t support Trump the were committing “treason to your heritage.”
Some conservatives and Republicans, Trump included, have said the Bernie Sanders campaign is behind the protestors and they are the ones causing the violence, despite video that shows the opposite. Dr. Ben Carson, who officially endorsed Trump, told NBC News, “I think, certainly, if the protesters continue with their Alinksy-ite tactics, there is a real possibility of escalation, because those who are the victims of them have two choices: They can submit to them and meekly just do whatever those protesters want them to do, or they can fight back and if they decide to fight back, there could be an escalation.”
Marco Rubio, who will see his candidacy sink or float with Tuesday’s winner-take-all Florida primary, said President Obama and the Democrats are partially responsible for the Trump candidacy and the violence that now surrounds it. He told Fox News the nation was divided because of the president talking about about issues, “along haves and have-nots, along ethnic and racial lines, gender lines.”
Others have put the blame entirely on President Obama, who replied at a DNC event taking place in Texas, “There are thoughtful conservatives — good people in the Republican Party, good people who are Republican voters who care about poverty and they care about climate, and don’t resort to insults, and are troubled by what’s happening inside their own party. I know them. I’ve talked to them. But they’ve got to acknowledge why this happened — because some of them have been writing that, ‘Well, the reason our party is going crazy is because of Obama.’ Which is a pretty novel idea. The notion is Obama drove us crazy. Now, the truth is, what they really mean is their reaction to me was crazy and now it has gotten out of hand. But that’s different. I didn’t cause the reaction. The reaction is something that they have to take responsibility for and then figure out how do we make an adjustment.”
Top photo is a screen shot from MSNBC video showing Michelle Fields next to Donald Trump shortly before the incident in question.
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that.