Trump Defends Campaign Manager Accused of Pulling Protester’s Collar: ‘I Give Him Credit for Having Spirit’


Donald Trump defended campaign manager Corey Lewandowski Sunday on ABC after he was involved in another incident on the campaign trail, saying "I give him credit for having spirit" in engaging with anti-Trump protesters at a rally.

Video appeared to show Lewandowski seizing a protester by his collar and yanking him backwards at a rally in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday. The Trump campaign denied the allegations.

"Why is your campaign manager out in the crowd engaging protesters? This is his second incident in about a month," This Week host George Stephanpoulos said.

"You know what, because security at the arena, the police were a little bit lax, and they had signs up in that area that were horrendous, that I cannot say what they said on the sign, but the ultimate word," Trump said. "Frankly, the television cameras can't take it, and they can't do anything about it, and I will give him credit, spirit. Now he wasn't—"

"Well, the video does show that he touched him," Stephanpoulos said. "Your private security pulled him, but—"

"That was somebody else pulling him. I give him credit for having spirit," Trump said. "He wanted them to take down those horrible, profanity-laced signs."

Stephanopoulos told Trump he appeared to more upset by the protesters than the violent response to the protesters.

"I wouldn't use the word upset. I think it's very unfair that these really … professional, in many cases sick, protesters can put cars in a road, blocking thousands of great Americans from coming to a speech, and nobody says anything about that, but they'll say something about whatever," Trump said.

Lewandowski has also been accused of strong-arming former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields in Jupiter, Fla., earlier this month. Lewandowski appeared to seize her by the arm with enough force that it left a bruise as Fields attempted to ask Trump a question in a press scrum. She later filed assault charges.

Fields and several other Breitbart staffers ultimately resigned their positions over what they viewed as the pro-Trump website not backing her up publicly.

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