This is an interesting and disturbing piece by Washington Post reporter Ben Terris, who witnessed Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski roughly grab and shove Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields after a speech by Trump, back near the start of all this madness.
The Trump campaign’s insidious, relentless denial of reality even started to make Terris doubt what he saw with his own eyes.
“I just want to make sure,” my editor asked me as he closed the door to his office. “He definitely grabbed her?”
It had to be the 50th time I’d heard this question, and each time it filled me with unspeakable anxiety.
Yes, he grabbed her. It happened three days earlier, in the chandelier-lit ballroom of Donald Trump’s golf club in Jupiter, Fla. Trump had just won the state’s primary, and he was celebrating in a ballroom full of Trump-branded products: steaks, water, even a magazine.
After the speech, Michelle Fields, a reporter for Breitbart, approached Trump with a question about affirmative action, when Corey Lewandowski, then Trump’s campaign manager, took her by the arm and yanked her from the candidate.
It happened right in front of me.
And yet, even though I saw it, the Trump team’s response — to claim it never happened at all — would become a small preview of a strategy the campaign would return to again and again on a much larger scale this year: Bully, don’t back down, do whatever you can to muddy up the facts.
Terris has a pretty clear understanding of the tactics used by Breitbart “News” to help Trump perpetrate these deceptions:
I turned down dozens of television interviews on the subject. I worried I might say something like: “No, I’m not 100 percent certain of my account because I’ve never been 100 percent certain about anything.” And then I’d find a Breitbart headline like: “WaPo reporter no longer sure he saw what he said he saw.”
The denial and dishonesty was so relentless that even Michelle Fields, the victim of Lewandowski’s assault, began to question her own experience.
When I spoke with Fields last week, she told me that at the time even she began questioning her own account, despite having the bruises to prove it.
“The Trump campaign did everything they could to get me to question my own reality,” she said. “You don’t think that will ever happen to you, but it did.”
“Trump gaslighted me,” Fields said. “I worry now that he’s gaslighting the country.”
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