WASHINGTON — Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has a variety of explanations for what’s happening in an overhead video showing his campaign manager yanking a reporter. The grab, Trump has suggested in multiple interviews since the March 8 incident, is, at best, a big misunderstanding.
Never mind that Jupiter, Fla., police saw enough cause to charge the aide, Corey Lewandowski, with simple battery of former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. Or that the video clearly shows Lewandowski reaching through people to Fields to grab her left arm, as she alleges. Lewandowski initially tweeted that he “never touched” her, and Trump supports his claim of innocence.
Here’s a look at Trump’s statements on the matter:
IT NEVER HAPPENED
Two weeks ago, Trump said he noticed nothing and just heard about the incident.
“This was, in my opinion, made up,” Trump told CNN on March 11 in Miami. “Everybody said nothing happened. Perhaps she made the story up. I think that’s what happened.”
Lewandowski tweets to Fields: “@MichelleFields you are totally delusional. I never touched you.”
“Look at tapes-nothing there!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
‘MAYBE’ THERE WAS CONTACT
“Maybe he touched (her) a little bit, but I didn’t see,” Trump told a rally Tuesday.
NO BIG DEAL
“The incident was so minor,” Trump said Wednesday on NBC’s “Today.” Lewandowski “He brushes her. And he brushes her probably, probably to get her hand off my arm. So it was so minor he might not have realized it took place.”
On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Trump said Fields was “hardly even touched.”
A BIG DEAL: FIELDS’ PEN COULD HAVE BEEN A BOMB
“She had a pen in her hand, which Secret Service is not liking because they don’t know what it is, whether it’s a little bomb,” Trump said during a CNN town hall forum Tuesday.
…OR A KNIFE
“She walked through Secret Service. She had a pen in her hand, which could have been a knife,” Trump told CNN on Tuesday. “It could have been just a pen, which is very dangerous.”
“SHE WAS GRABBING ME”
Trump suggested that Lewandowski was trying to block Fields from “grabbing and asking questions.”
“She was grabbing me. Does that mean I’m supposed to file charges against her?” Trump told reporters Tuesday.
SHE GRABBED ME MORE THAN ONCE
“She grabbed me by the arm twice,” Trump said Wednesday on NBC. “She made up this story.”
SHE HIT ME AND LEWANDOWSKI WAS TRYING TO HELP
“She grabs me or hits me in the arm,” Trump recounted Tuesday at the rally in Janesville, Wisconsin. “It was almost like he was trying to keep her off me.”
“Like he was helping her,” he added after continued input from the audience.
AP Writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report from Janesville, Wisconsin.
Follow Laurie Kellman on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/APLaurieKellman