The White House weighed in on the battery case against Donald Trump’s campaign manager today, with press secretary Josh Earnest saying neither Obama nor President Bush would tolerate an aide like that.
Pressed on the case against Corey Lewandowski, charged with grabbing former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields to pull her away from Trump after a press conference, Earnest replied, “At least in terms of the ins and outs of the legal case, I haven’t been following it. I don’t know if he has made bail yet, for example.”
“But — that was a joke,” he added, chiding reporters for being “no fun.”
“But that’s not even funny,” one reporter retorted.
Earnest said “there is no denying that the kinds of actions and statements we have seen from this campaign is completely outside the realm of acceptable behavior that been observed by Democratic and Republican presidents over the course of our history.”
“And so I feel confident in doing something that I am always loathe to do, which is to express a view that I am confident that even President George W. Bush would agree with, and this is relevant because this is a prospect that Mr. Trump raised,” the press secretary continued. “I am confident that neither President Obama nor President Bush would tolerate someone on their staff being accused of physically assaulting a reporter, lying about it, and then blaming the victim. That is completely unacceptable behavior.”
“And I am confident that — I know for a fact that it’s not something that President Obama would tolerate. And I feel confident in telling you that that is not something that President Bush would tolerate. I am also confident in telling you that nobody is particularly surprised that that’s behavior that Mr. Trump doesn’t just seem to tolerate, he seems to encourage.”
Asked how he knew President Bush would agree with Obama on this, Earnest replied he suspects “that based the kinds of principles and commitment to values that despite our political differences make clear that assaulting a reporter is wrong, assaulting women is wrong, and the accusations that have been raised about Mr. Lewandowski’s conduct go directly to those core values.”
“And, again, I am happy for President Bush or someone that works for him to say this definitively on their own,” he added. “I am confident they — despite our many disagreements on a range of other issues, I am confident they would agree with me on this one.”