NEW YORK – Donald Trump’s suggestion in an interview Wednesday that former Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields pressed battery charges against his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, because “she likes it,” echoed his campaign’s initial suggestion that Fields had a history of such allegations against public figures.
Two days after the March 8 incident, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said Fields’ accusation that Lewandowski “grabbed [her] tightly by the arm and yanked [her] down” was “entirely false” and that the staff had “no knowledge” of any confrontation.
“We leave it to others whether this (is) part of a larger pattern of exaggerating incidents, but on multiple occasions she has become part of the news story as opposed to reporting it,” Hicks said March 10. “Recall she also claimed to have been beaten by a New York City police officer with a baton.”
In an interview with NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday, Trump said he believes that even if Lewandowski had apologized to Fields, she would have gone ahead and filed battery charges.
“I think she would have pressed charges anyway, because I think she likes it,” Trump said.
Fields did not respond to WND requests for comment.
The March 8 incident at the Trump National Golf Course in Jupiter, Florida, after a press conference was captured in a video released Tuesday by the city’s police department. It shows Lewandowski reaching for Fields as she moves toward Trump then standing next to the candidate with a pen and phone.
Lewandowski, who plans to plead not guilty, turned himself in to Jupiter police on Tuesday morning and will appear May 4 in Palm Beach County Circuit Court on a misdemeanor battery charge.
In a column published March 10 by Breitbart, Fields said she approached Trump after the news conference to ask him a question.
“Trump acknowledged the question, but before he could answer I was jolted backwards,” Fields said. “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.”
Trump has argued, however, that the overhead CCTV footage his staff gave to the police department, which was released to the public Tuesday, doesn’t show her being yanked down and nearly falling to the ground.
Accused NYPD of assault
The New York City incident referenced by the Trump campaign took place in November 2011 when Fields, then a Daily Caller reporter, claimed she and videographer Direna Cousins “were struck” by NYPD officers as the police tried to clear the street of Occupy Wall Street protesters.
Daily Caller opinion editor J. Arthur Bloom quoted Fields saying: “The police officers were beating the protesters with batons, and were also beating the media. They hit Direna and me with batons. They hit other members of the press in order to get them to move out of the street.”
Bloom wrote that while Fields and Cousins were struck by the NYPD, “neither sustained injuries that required hospitalization.”
Fields said Cousins “had a camera in her hand and I had a microphone, and we were being hit.”
“When I fell to the ground I said at one point, ‘I’m just covering this! I’m covering this!’ And the officer just said, ‘Come on, get up, get up,’ before pulling me up by my jacket.’”
Bloom wrote that “in the crush of the crowd,” Fields and Cousins were unable to get off the street to comply with the NYPD orders, adding that “clear indications” that they were members of the press did not stop what he characterized as “the NYPD beating.”
“The protesters came up to me right away and asked if I needed any medical assistance. They were actually very kind and helpful. It was the police officers who were very aggressive,” Fields added.
In an interview with C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb after the Occupy Wall Street incident, Fields maintained the NYPD were the aggressors, while she found the Occupy protestors to be “quite kind.”
See the C-SPAN interview:
The video of the incident shows Fields crying and upset but apparently unhurt.
There is no evidence she ever filed a police report.
On March 10, after the Trump incident, Fields’ friend Jamie Weinstein tweeted a photograph of her with the description: “Michelle getting pushed down by police during the Occupy Wall Street protests. Trump campaign serial liars.”
Accused Allen West
In March 2015, Charles C. Johnson at GotNews.com reported that Fields accused former U.S. congressman Allen West of groping her in front of an elevator while they were colleagues at PJ Media.
But Johnson said that after making the accusation, Fields “repeatedly and emphatically refused comment on the record and asked that I change her earlier confirmation which I have now done.”
On March 10, Lewandowski posted a tweet drawing attention to the GotNews.com report, commenting that Fields “is an attention seeker who once claimed Allen West Groped her but later went silent.”
West joined PJ Media’s Next Generation in TV January 2013 to host a Web show with Fields and Los Angeles radio host John Phillips.
West could not be reached by WND for comment.
DiCaprio and RFK Jr.
As a PJTV reporter, Fields “confronted” actor Leonardo DiCaprio about his lifestyle during a climate-change protest in New York City, and when DiCaprio refused to answer, Fields “was quickly pushed out of the way by a minder,” the Daily Mail in London reported in May 2014.
A PJTV video of the incident archived on YouTube shows Fields persisting in aggressive questioning even after it was apparent DiCaprio had no interest in responding.
See Fields’ interview with Leonardo DiCaprio:
Fields posted a comment regarding the incident on Twitter, Sept. 21, 2014: “Talking to Leonardo DiCaprio about climate change. Don’t think he was happy about me bringing up his yachts & jets.”
At the same New York City climate-change protest, Fields cornered Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
See Fields interview with RFK Jr.:
The Daily Mail reported Fields’ complaints that Kennedy “lost his cool,” “grabbed the microphone” from her and “pointed at her aggressively” after she pressed him, suggesting his lavish lifestyle was hypocritical.
In a tweet posted Sept. 21, 2014, Fields claimed Kennedy got “handsy with me.”
‘Assault and battery, Chicago style’
In an email to WND, Chicago-based reporter William J. Kelly commented that in Chicago, “what happened during the Lewandowski video would have been called ‘being nice.’”
Kelly writes for the American Spectator and has a monthly column on Newsmax.com.
Laura Grock, Kelly’s publicist, told WND that in Kelly’s reporting of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, formerly President Obama’s White House chief of staff, “a politician’s staff and security are routinely rough, never fail to make contact and regularly shove, push, hold people up against walls and trip reporters – even those who have never made any physical contact with the politician – a much different case than what happened with Mr. Lewandowski.”
To make the point, Grock forwarded to WND two videos.
In the first example, Emanuel’s staff shoved Kelly out of the way after the mayor didn’t want to answer questions.
See Rahm Emanuel staffer shove reporter:
In the second incident, Emanuel’s staff surrounded, pushed and tripped Kelly numerous times as he was trying to interview the mayor, though he was nowhere near him.
See Rahm Emanuel’s staff get rough with reporter William Kelly:
Kelly is also an Emmy award-winning TV producer and has contributed to the Washington Times communities section and Breitbart.com.