Donald Trump adviser Sarah Huckabee Sanders sputtered while trying to defend Corey Lewandowski’s battery charges Tuesday on Fox News, insisting “nothing happened here” and that the video of him yanking reporter Michelle Fields’ arm shows they “may have brushed past each other.”
Fox host Gretchen Carlson repeatedly challenged Sanders, demanding why Lewandowski wouldn’t be dismissed from the campaign after he insisted he never “touched” Fields. Video footage shows him doing just that, however.
“I’ve watched the video myself, and frankly, I encourage people to watch it from beginning to end and see for themselves that nothing happened here,” Sanders said.
Sanders told Carlson she’d been elbowed and hit in the face in press scrums, but Carlson retorted she had never walked away with bruises like Fields had on her arm. Fields posted a picture on social media of her arm to show bruises from the incident.
“Again, Gretchen, you’ve been a part of these. You’ve seen it,” Sanders said. “My guess is you’ve been pushed and shoved many times yourself.”
“Don’t put me into it,” Carlson said. “I’ve never gotten bruises like that, nor did I ever feel like I had to, that I can recall, file simple battery charges.”
Carlson asked Sanders to explain Lewandowski’s tweet insisting he never touched Fields.
“Would you agree, Sarah, that he actually touched her that night?” Carlson asked.
“It looks to me like they may have brushed past each other,” Sanders said. “Again, I can’t tell you the number of times being in that situation where I’ve walked past where a reporter has pushed me, bumped me, and I’ve been trying to catch up and clear the path of the candidate I’m with or working for.”
Carlson also brought up tape showing Lewandowski appearing to seize a protester’s collar in Tucson, Arizona, earlier this month.
“Wouldn’t this be security, though, that would be doing this?” Carlson asked. “Let’s say that things do get out of hand. Not an actual campaign manager for a presidential candidate. Also, are the police lying about this incident too?”
“I haven’t seen the specifics of the police statement about the Jupiter incident–” Sanders said.
“I’ll read it to you,”’ Carlson said. It said:
On March 12, 2016, I obtained video footage from Trump Security at Trump National in Jupiter. I specifically obtained video from the ballroom the night and time in question. The video parallels what Fields told me, in that Trump was walking towards the exit of the ballroom, taking questions, and signing autographs. Fields is seen on video, holding her phone up to Trump, appearing to ask him a question. Trump had looked in her direction, and then Lewandowski extended his left arm out, stepping between Trump and another male subject believed to be U.S. Secret Service. After extending his arm out, Lewandowski appeared to reach for Field’s left arm with his left hand, allowing him to get closer to Fields.
Lewandowski then grabbed Fields left arm with his right hand, causing her arm to turn and step back.
“This is the police officer, Sarah. Is he lying?” Carlson asked.
“Uh, look, I think you should watch the video for yourself,” Sanders said. “I’ve watched it. I don’t see anything that indicates that there was an intentional moment here.”
Sanders called the incident “unfortunate” and said Trump, who has publicly backed Lewandowski and insisted he did nothing wrong, does not condone “physical contact with reporters.” Sanders went on to mock Trump’s Republican rivals for exploiting the incident on the campaign trail.
“They are incapable of beating Donald Trump … Now they’re going after his staff. This is about money and power,” Sanders said.
“Well, they’re not going after his staff. The police are charging a member of his staff,” Carlson said. “Not the candidates.”
“Yeah, and innocent until proven guilty,” Sanders said.