Donald Trump said Wednesday that reporter Michelle Fields would likely have pressed battery charges even if Corey Lewandowski had apologized for grabbing her “because I think she likes it,” implying she wanted the attention.
On NBC’s Today, hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie asked Trump to explain his stalwart defense of his campaign manager. Lauer at one point resignedly asked if this whole thing would be moot if Lewandowski had apologized in the first place.
“I actually don’t think so,” Trump said. “I think she would have pressed charges anyway because I think she likes it. That’s my opinion. Maybe I’m wrong. If he called up, if he said he’s sorry, I think she would have used that against him … Certainly, if that could have happened, he would have done that, and I wasn’t involved in that … I don’t think anything would have happened. I think we’d be in the same place.”
He added an apology would have given her “a little bit better evidence.”
“Why don’t we say we’ll agree to disagree on this, Mr. Trump,” Lauer said.
“Well I don’t think you can disagree, Matt, because the evidence is the evidence, and most people would disagree with you,” Trump said.
The strange saga began earlier this month when Fields and others asserted Lewandowski had seized her arm with enough force to leave bruises at a press scrum in Florida.
Lewandowski emphatically denied ever touching Fields, and Trump himself implied Fields made it up, but Jupiter, Florida, police filed battery charges against Lewandowski on Tuesday. The department released video showing him clearly yanking her arm. Since then, the campaign has rallied behind Lewandowski, and Trump has mocked Fields’ complaint and said the video shows the incident has been blown out of proportion.
Trump suggested at a Tuesday town hall that Fields’ pen could have been a threat to him when she approached for a question, calling it “very dangerous.”
Note (10:56 A.M.): Earlier, this article quoted Trump as saying “I think we’d be in the wrong place,” when he actually said, “I think we’d be in the same place.” This has been corrected.