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In 2011, several years before Corey Lewandowski became the controversial campaign manager of Donald Trump’s presidential bid, he moderated a panel featuring Andrew Breitbart, the late conservative provocateur and media bigwig, and he posed an earnest question: Why do politicos, faced with their own wrongdoing, so often shamelessly deny the allegations and get away with it?
That exchange now seems particularly relevant, with the Trump campaign and Lewandowski juggling controversies and crises and often responding by challenging reality. Recently, Lewandowski came under fire for manhandling Michelle Fields, a reporter working for the eponymous news organization that Breitbart founded. Lewandowski’s aggressive behavior again became a campaign issue a week later when footage circulated that appeared to show him at a Trump rally roughly grabbing a protestor by the shirt collar. In both episodes, the Trump campaign’s response was to deny that Lewandowski had committed the acts in question and to counterattack—a move that is in sync with Breitbart’s answer to Lewandowski’s question five years ago.
That question came during an Americans for Prosperity-sponsored panel in New Hampshire on September 17, 2011, held about six months prior to Breitbart’s sudden death at the age of 43. Lewandowski, who was the East Coast regional director for the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity, asked Breitbart, “Why do you think politicians involved in scandals insist on repeating the same old pattern of denying any wrongdoing—promising to clear their names—when the entire time they know what they’ve been accused of, and why don’t they just stop, and stop the further embarrassment?”
What Andrew Breitbart Taught Donald Trump’s Campaign Manager About Dodging Scandals