He may not technically work for Donald Trump anymore, but Corey Lewandowski just gave Americans their best preview yet of how the Republican candidate’s campaign plans to spin the bombshell audio released Friday in which the Republican nominee brags of grabbing a woman's "pussy" against her will.
Lewandowski, who was hired by CNN as political commentator after he was fired as Trump’s campaign manager in June, did not hesitate to defend his former boss in a phone interview with Wolf Blitzer Friday evening. (Until recently, Lewandowski was still being paid severance by Trump’s campaign after he was fired this summer, several months after he grabbed and threw to the ground reporter Michelle Fields.)
“Clearly this is not how women should be spoken about,” Lewandowski said, getting his one perfunctory denunciation out the way before moving on to a full-throttled defense of the man who continued to pay him long after he left the campaign.
“But we're not choosing a Sunday school teacher here,” he continued, insisting he’s “never heard” anything like this type of language about women from the candidate. “We’re electing a leader.”
“Are his words perfect? Absolutely not,” Lewandowski said. “Is this defensible? I don't think so.” But he praised Trump for apologizing “if anyone was offended” and said “we want a leader who is going to lead America, and is that rough sometimes? It is.”
“He speaks from the heart,” Lewandowski added. “He speaks the way many times people talk around their dining room table.”
On that note, he quickly tried to pivot the conversation to Hillary Clinton, drawing a false equivalency between Trump’s offensive comments the words of his opponent.
“Do you want someone who is going to be crass and tough?” he said. “Is somebody who’s dishonest and potentially doing something illegal?”
Asked by Blitzer if Trump needs to address the issue in a press conference or sit-down interview with a “serious journalist” — as opposed to a friend like Sean Hannity — ahead of Sunday’s debate, Lewandowski said yes. His suggestion for an interviewer? Matt Lauer, who he said did an “excellent job” with Trump at NBC’s presidential forum last month, but was widely panned by the rest of the media for giving the candidate a free pass.
In conclusion, Lewandowski said, “You've got two candidates in this race. One of the two is going to be the president of the United States, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. And you have to make the fundamental decision, do I want a tough, brash, bold person who’s willing to do and say what it takes to save our country or a career politician? And I think the choice is clear.”
What is clear from Lewandowski’s comments is that Trump is highly unlikely to go any further than the non-apology he rushed out earlier this afternoon. Americans will have to choose whether or not they want as their president who believes that “when you’re a star” women will let you sexually assault them.