CNN Reportedly Hiring Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s Former Anti-Press Enforcer
Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI
Politico is reporting that CNN is hiring former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski, who was fired from the campaign earlier this week, allegedly manhandled a reporter, and news outlets have reported he’s made “unwanted romantic advances” and “sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to -- and about -- female journalists.” He was also “accused of pushing a CNN reporter.”
Politico wrote that “Lewandowski is joining CNN as a political commentator, according to a source familiar with the arrangement. It's a salaried position and will make Lewandowski exclusive to CNN, effective immediately.”
Lewandowski allegedly manhandled reporter Michelle Fields during a March campaign event in Florida that was caught on video. Police charged him with a single count of misdemeanor battery, and the Palm Beach County state attorney subsequently decided not to prosecute. The attorney said: “While the evidence in this case is legally sufficient for the police to charge Mr. Lewandowski, it is not strong enough to meet the burden of a reasonable likelihood of a conviction.”
BuzzFeed reported in March that Lewandowski made “unwanted romantic advances” and “sexual comments about female journalists.” The outlet also reported that he was “accused of pushing a CNN reporter who tried to ask the candidate a question”:
As Donald Trump faces questions about his campaign manager’s physical altercation with a protester over the weekend, BuzzFeed News has learned new details about the hard-charging operative’s behavior that raise questions about his judgment and the environment inside the Trump campaign.
In recent interviews with more than half a dozen sources who have worked with Trump’s top aide, Corey Lewandowski, the strategist was accused of pushing a CNN reporter who tried to ask the candidate a question; physically confronting an aide for a rival campaign in a post-debate spin room; publicly shouting threats over the phone at a restaurant; making sexual comments about female journalists; and calling up women in the campaign press corps late at night to make unwanted romantic advances.
Asked Monday for comment on these allegations, Lewandowski emailed, “Your story is factually inaccurate.” When BuzzFeed news asked him to clarify which portions of the story he was challenging, he wrote, “Be sure before you accuse me of something it’s accurate. And, in these instances you are wrong.”
BuzzFeed added of the CNN incident:
At a press conference earlier this month in West Palm Beach, Florida, Lewandowski physically pushed CNN reporter Noah Gray away from Trump as he tried to ask the candidate a question, according to a source with close knowledge of the incident.
It was not the first time the campaign manager had gotten in Gray’s face to prevent him from reporting. In November, when the reporter attempted to film protesters who were disrupting a Trump rally, Lewandowski threatened to pull his credentials unless he went back inside the pen the campaign uses to corral journalists. He was also heard warning the press secretary that if Gray didn’t obey him he would be “fucking blacklisted.” The CNN reporter’s tweets about the incident riled Lewandowski and briefly inflamed tensions between the campaign and the traveling press corps, reporters told BuzzFeed News.
A spokesperson for CNN did not respond to a request for comment.
In November, Gray tweeted video of Lewandowski threatening to pull his press credentials if he didn't return to the media "pen" during a campaign event:
— Noah Gray CNN (@NoahGrayCNN) November 19, 2015
Politico similarly reported that “reporters told POLITICO that Lewandowski has made sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to -- and about -- female journalists who have covered Trump’s presidential bid. One reporter who was on the receiving end of such comments described them as ‘completely inappropriate in a professional setting.’”
*This post has been updated.