Trump’s combative campaign manager strikes again

Earlier this month, reporter Michelle Fields accused Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, of manhandling her at a campaign event. Lewandowski denied doing so, but the video evidence seems to support Fields.

Trump rewarded Lewandowski for his assault by giving him a place next to him during his victory speech last Tuesday, and by singling Lewandowski out for praise during his address. “Corey, good job,” the tycoon exclaimed. I don’t recall this sort of shout out to Lewandowski in appearances prior to his grab of Fields.

Thus encouraged, Lewandowski apparently is in the roughing up business to stay. Yesterday, at a rally in Tucson, Arizona, the combative campaign manager waded into the crowd and grabbed a protester.

Since when is it a campaign manager’s job to police protesters at a campaign rally? The answer is, since Trump decided to build his campaign around the notion of “taking our country back.” He wants his supporters to understand that, if elected president, he will crack heads.

This, apparently, is part of what Trump means when he talks about America “winning again.” Indeed, it may be the most realistic part.

It’s highly unlikely that Trump will get Mexico to pay for his wall or, more generally, force powerful foreign leaders to bend to his will. But it’s plausible to think that Trump will kick ass when dealing with less formidable individuals such as political protesters or journalists who criticize him.

How did Trump react this time to his campaign manager’s aggression? In typical Trump fashion. He denied that Lewandowski touched the protester, claiming, contrary to the video evidence, that it was somebody else.

However, there is no dispute that Lewandowski waded into the crowd; in fact, Trump gave him “credit for having spirit” in doing so. He also explained that Lewandowski’s foray was necessary “because the security at the arena, the police, were a little bit lax, and [the protesters] had signs up that were horrendous.” (Emphasis added)

But according to John Fund, whose brother was on the Tuscon police force for thirty years, at a private arena such as the one Trump spoke at, the responsibility for security INSIDE the arena resides with the organizer, not the local police. Fund adds:

A currently serving police officer who attended the rally and is a Trump supporter told me that he viewed the private security Trump had there as the ones who were “lax.” He said that hiring off-duty cops is expensive at $30-plus an hour, and many private events don’t hire any, or only a couple.

“The security I saw at the rally were unprofessional and looked like rent-a-cops,” he told me. “It is insulting of Donald Trump to blame the police for his rally problems and we clearly were not [responsible].”

Is Trump too cheap or too incompetent to hire decent security at his events? Or does he want the kinds of scenes on display in Tucson, which enable him to dominate the news and reinforce his tough guy image?

I don’t know. But his own statements suggest that he relishes the spectacle of protesters having “the hell knocked out them”, including by his campaign manager.

In this respect, as in so many others, Donald Trump degrades our already parlous civic life.

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