Former Breitbart spokesman Kurt Bardella appeared on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon Friday to explain why he quit in protest over his employer’s refusal to support reporter Michelle Fields after she was allegedly manhandled by Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Fields claims that Lewandowski grabbed her arm hard enough to leave bruises as she was trying to ask Trump a question after a campaign event on Tuesday. Lewandowski denies the charges.
“I think when you get to a point where you can’t 100% support who you’re representing, the right thing to do is to step aside and inform them you can no longer represent them,” Bardella told Lemon. “I reached the conclusion after watching over the last few days how this unfolded. I personally felt that Breitbart hadn’t adequately supported Michelle Fields, one of their own reporters, through this whole ordeal. And at the end of the day you have to be able to live with yourself. Seeing how this was going, how this was unfolding, I thought it was right to step down and move on.”
On Friday, Fields filed a police report against Lewandowski. Breitbart responded with an article by senior editor-at-large Joel Pollak questioning her version of the events. Pollak wrote in defense of Lewandowski:
Fields was indeed hurt in the altercation, and published a photograph of her bruises. Yet the available evidence from WPTV and ABC suggests that it was unlikely that Lewandowski was the person who caused her injuries.
Given the similarity in appearance between Lewandowski and the security official, and given the fact that Lewandowski was walking on the other side of Trump from where Fields was at the time, the possibility of mistaken identity cannot be ruled out. Indeed, given Lewandowski’s adamant denials (coupled with statements inappropriately impugning Fields’s character), it is the likeliest explanation.
In addition, the injury may have been accidental, owing simply to the chaos of the press scrum. A video filmed by a local CBS reporter earlier in the evening shows Fields standing near Trump and the same security official, with no concern or alarm on the part of Trump campaign staff.
Bardella said he thinks Breitbart has been “looking for a reason to disprove something” even though all the evidence strongly supports Fields’ version of the story. Asked by Lemon if he was saying that Breitbart is lying, Bardalla didn’t hesitate: “Yes, I am.”
He said that in the immediate aftermath it wasn’t clear exactly what had occurred, “but as it progressed and the evidence became more clear, there seemed to be resistance from Breitbart in supporting Michelle,” he said, adding that Breitbart’s support for Trump is influencing their decision to not to back their own reporter.
“I think anyone who watches Breitbart coverage, they haven’t hidden this, they have been very supportive of the Trump campaign.” He added, “When you’ve gone all in so much for a candidate, you know, when you have that kind of skin in the game, you don’t want to see that derailed. I think it’s been very obvious in the coverage. I don’t think they’ve hidden that or they would dispute that. They’re very much pro-Trump.”
Bardella went on to criticize the GOP front-runner, saying that the violence we’re seeing is a pattern of behavior with Trump, “whether it’s toward a reporter, a spectator, a supporter, or opposition, nobody is safe.”
He said Trump makes him embarrassed to be a Republican. “People feel that Washington has abandoned them. Like any great propagandist, he’s seized on that fear and that emotion and has propped himself up using outrageous rhetoric, dangerous tactics, and unfortunately, there are people who are aligning with that.”
Editor’s note: Michelle Fields is a former employee of PJTV.