If you listened to even 30 seconds' worth of TV news Tuesday, you probably heard the name Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski, the campaign manager for Donald Trump's presidential bid, was charged with misdemeanor battery Tuesday in Florida after a reporter accused him of grabbing and bruising her at an event earlier this month. Trump spent most of the day defending Lewandowski, arguing that he was "a very decent man."
If you're just now learning about the scandal or Lewandowski himself, here's a quick rundown of what you should know.
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) March 29, 2016
First, his qualifications: Lewandowski joined up with Trump in January 2015, according to a LinkedIn profile in his name. Before that, he worked with Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group based in Virginia; Schwartz MSL, a public relations company; and the New England Seafood Producers Association, an industry nonprofit.
He also served as the legislative political director for the Northeast in the Republican National Committee for about eight months in 2001. Lewandowski has been employed by Rep. Peter Torkildsen, R-Mass., Rep. Robert New, R-Ohio, and Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H.
Lewandowski earned a reputation as an aggressive lobbyist, Politico reported. A New Hampshire resident, he has four kids and a wife and met Trump in 2014. He was later recruited by the billionaire for $240,000 a year, but he's probably not in it for the paycheck alone.
“He certainly wouldn’t be supporting Donald Trump if he didn’t believe in him,” GOP strategist Jerry DeLemus told Politico.
A Wall Street Journal article laid out Lewandowski's diligent efforts to recruit top strategists while crushing a dozen energy drinks a day. Lewandowski himself told the Washington Post he had "the greatest jobs in politics" and insisted he wasn't daunted by Trump's negative reputation.
"Maybe this is a bad analogy, but I see Mr. Trump as American Pharoah, the horse that just ran and won the Triple Crown. When you have a horse like that, American Pharoah, you have to let him do his thing. Let him run his race," Lewandowski said. "And anybody who thinks that they are going to be able to dictate what Mr. Trump should or shouldn't do doesn't understand the unparalleled success that he has had across his life."
Wow, Corey Lewandowski, my campaign manager and a very decent man, was just charged with assaulting a reporter. Look at tapes-nothing there!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2016
But Trump's — and therefore, Lewandowski's — rise to the top hasn't been without controversy. After the incident with former Breitbart News Network reporter Michelle Fields, Lewandowski was accused of roughly grabbing the collar of an activist at a rally in Tucson, Arizona, on March 19. A video of Lewandowski moving the protester went viral.
Trump said his campaign manager did not touch the demonstrator but backed him anyway, instead blaming "lax" security.
“They had signs up in that area, that were horrendous, that I cannot say what they said on the sign,” Trump told ABC News. "I give [Lewandowski] credit for having spirit. He wanted them to take down those horrible, profanity-laced signs.”
Politico published an anonymously-sourced story alleging Lewandowski had a history of "bullying and other inappropriate behavior" earlier this month. While the aide was working with Americans for Prosperity, he reportedly vowed to blow up an executive's car in a disagreement over an expense check. Lewandowski also called a female employee a "c---," according to Politico.
BuzzFeed put out a story soon after alleging the campaign manager "has called female reporters late at night to come on to them, often not sounding entirely sober."
The Washington Post criticized both outlets afterward for not providing more specific, on-the-record evidence to support their claims. The campaign also responded to BuzzFeed saying their accusations were false and that Lewandowski was a professional.
"Corey is a loyal aide and trusted advisor to Mr. Trump, and is otherwise a private citizen who does not deserve anonymous, disparaging and false accusations and will fight back will all available legal remedies peddled by a disgruntled blogger," the Trump camp wrote in a statement.
With Tuesday's news, calls for Trump to let Lewandowski go have mounted. Slate blasted Trump but wrote that it was unlikely he would distance himself from Lewandowski due to his strategy of doubling down whenever there's a controversy in the election cycle. David Brock, who runs pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC Correct The Record, released a statement calling out Trump's inaction. “Unless he wants the violence to continue, Trump needs to end the reality TV show that his campaign has become and tell Lewandowski, ‘You’re Fired,'” Brock wrote.
Trump's campaign issued a news release of its own saying that Lewandowski was innocent, and Trump may say more on the matter Tuesday night at a CNN town hall event.
The mogul has 736 of the 1,237 delegates needed to get the GOP presidential nomination.
Trump Camp statement on Corey Lewandowksi charges pic.twitter.com/Oq6R0QP4rH
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) March 29, 2016