When Donald Trump spoke to a heaving throng of supporters in Florida, having just won three out of five states in a single day, one of the most important men in his campaign was standing on his right hand side.
Corey Lewandowski, his campaign manager, was smiling widely.
The smile was presumably not only expressing the delight of his employer’s bulldozing win across the country. The grin also seemed to present a strong and unified move alongside Mr Trump to disregard claims of his aggression towards “disgusting reporters” that had acted to catapult him into an even hotter national spotlight.
That claim from Michelle Fields, a former reporter from conservative website Breitbart, who said Mr Lewandowski tightly grabbed her arm at a rally, has now turned into a criminal misdemeanour charge of battery. Mr Trump has said his employee is innocent and Mr Lewandowski, who turned himself in on Tuesday, will plead not guily.
The 41-year-old, married political advisor from Lowell, Massachusetts, who previously ran Americans for Prosperity’s national voter-registration effort, an advocacy group for the billionaire Koch brothers, first met Mr Trump in New Hampshire in 2014 at a political event.
Upon visiting the Trump Towers just months later, he accepted the offer to run his campaign.
Mr Lewandowski, the former New Hampshire police officer, adopted a working mantra of “Let Trump Be Trump” - a policy that has been widely credited for allowing the plain-speaking candidate to become the likely frontrunner of the Republican party, handing his boss a straight win in New Hampshire in early March. It was a key state, and a key victory.
“Does Corey have a ground game or what?” Mr Trump asked the crowds.
But letting Mr Trump “run wild” over the last six months must have been hard work as his employer has become much more demonized than the Koch brothers ever were.
The racist rhetoric and inciting of violence at Trump rallies have also been a real headache: day after day, week after week, protesters and supporters have clashed, journalists have been caught in the middle, and all the while his employer was promising to “pay the legal fees”.
It is yet to be seen whether Mr Trump will stand by his claim to aid his campaign manager, who awaits the judge on 4 May.
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