Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields has filed a criminal complaint claiming she was assaulted by Donald Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski at a rally in Palm Beach, Florida on Tuesday. Despite a Washington Post reporter witnessing the moment and photographic evidence confirming that Fields was manhandled, Trump said Thursday that she probably just "made up" the whole thing.
"Perhaps she made the story up. I think that's what happened," Trump told reporters following the CNN Republican debate in Miami Thursday night. "I believe I was in the middle of a lot of Secret Service agents, and they all said that they never saw anything. And these are very honorable guys, they're fantastic people, and there were a lot of them and nobody saw anything, and to the best of my knowledge there's no pictures."
Here's another video of Trump's statement:
Trump also defended Lewandowski, who has a reputation for "aggressive" behavior with the media, calling him an "incredible guy." But as NBC News notes, one inside source portrayed the campaign manager in a far different light, noting his tendency toward "irrational anger" particularly with the media.
"Corey has always had an extremely aggressive and contentious relationship with the media," said the unnamed source. "We've known his irrational anger could be a liability but we've crossed our fingers that something over the top like this would not happen."
Here's Fields' account of the incident at Palm Beach:
When he approached me, I asked him about his view on an aspect of affirmative action. Trump acknowledged the question, but before he could answer I was jolted backwards. 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. The Washington Post’s Ben Terris immediately remarked that it was Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who aggressively tried to pull me to the ground. I quickly turned around and saw Lewandowski and Trump exiting the building together. No apology. No explanation for why he did this.
Despite Fields' photograph and the eyewitness account of a Washington Post's Ben Terris, Lewandowski slammed Fields as "delusional" and an "attention seeker":
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks also dismissed Fields' claim as "entirely false":
UPDATE: Newly released video from C-SPAN gives strong evidence validating Fields' claim that Lewandowski did in fact grab her.