So the political world has been abuzz over the last day or so with the news that Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski manhandled Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. Most people have focused on the servile deference Breitbart has given the Trump campaign afterwards, as though that were some surprising or newsworthy item. Personally, I do not care what Breitbart does, since it has been obvious for months that they are basically the PR arm of the Trump campaign, so it’s perfectly obvious that they aren’t going to criticize Lewandowski.
What’s interesting about this whole debacle is the Trump campaign’s response to it.
The statement was issued in the wee hours of Wednesday morning but remains Breitbart’s official comment on the matter, hours after sources said Lewandowski acknowledged to Breitbart’s Washington political editor, Matthew Boyle, that he did manhandle Fields.
Lewandowski’s explanation to Boyle, said these sources, was that he and Fields had never met before and that he didn’t recognize her as a Breitbart reporter, instead mistaking her for an adversarial member of the mainstream media. Trump’s press secretary, Hope Hicks, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. Nor did the usually responsive Boyle.
So, to be clear, Lewandowski would have been cool with manhandling a female reporter if she had been with a real news organization, but since she was with Breitbart, he’s kind of sort of sorry about the whole incident.
This kind of stuff is what makes me more resistant to the idea of voting for Trump than any of Trump’s, um, flexibility when it comes to policy issues. Trump is clearly fostering an environment that really does seem pretty totalitarian in nature and in which all enemies of Trump are fair game (in the minds of Trump supporters) for physical or legal abuse.
As The Federalist’s Sean Davis once noted on Twitter, the Trump campaign is basically like all other totalitarian movements: It’s not about any policy in particular, it’s about allowing losers to feel like they are winners. That’s why Trump’s message is specifically tailored to people who internally know they are losers, and why it repeatedly promises that if they follow Trump, he will take them to a land where they will get revenge on the “elites” and foreigners who have kept them down.
Lewandowski is exhibit one of this. Lewandowski is a pencil-necked twerp who’s about five and a half feet tall and maybe goes a buck thirty sopping wet. My teenage son could throw him around like a rag doll. In an actual physical confrontation with roughly 99% of adult males (and a significant number of adult females) in America, Corey Lewandowski would get humiliated and sent home without his lunch money.
But being a part of the the Trump apparatus means Lewandowski gets to feel big and important enough to take on Michelle Fields, at least, without fear of reprisal. And then later he doesn’t even have to apologize because members of the media – female members in particular – had it coming.