A conservative news website and Donald Trump were involved in a battle of words after a woman reporter claimed she was manhandled and bruised by the tycoon’s campaign manager.
Michelle Fields, a reporter with Breitbart, posted images on social media that showed bruises she claimed she received after being “yanked” by Mr Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Mr Lewandowski has denied the allegation and accused the reporter of fabricating the claims to draw attention to herself.
Ms Fields wrote of the incident, saying that she had not been called on to ask a question of Mr Trump at a campaign event in Jupiter, Florida, on Tuesday evening.
“Afterwards Trump wandered around, stopping at every reporter to take their questions. When he approached me, I asked him about his view on an aspect of affirmative action,” she wrote.
“Trump acknowledged the question, but before he could answer I was jolted backwards. Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down. I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken.”
After Thursday night’s Republican debate in Florida, Mr Trump claimed the reporter had made up allegation.
“Perhaps she made the story up. I think that’s what happened,” he said.
“I believe I was in the middle of a lot of Secret Service agents, and they all said that they never saw anything. And these are very honourable guys, they're fantastic people, and there were a lot of them and nobody saw anything, and to the best of my knowledge there’s no pictures.”
Mr Lewandowski posted a series of messages on Twitter denying the allegations and calling Ms Fields an “attention seeker”.
But on Friday, Ms Field’s posted images of what appeared to show her arm with bruises. “I guess these just magically appeared on me,” she wrote.
A Washington Post reporter who witnessed the incident confirmed Ms Field’s account of the interaction and another news website posted an audio recording that appeared to also back up up her claim.
Breiitbart said it was disappointed by the Trump campaign’s response and “in particular their effort to demean” Ms Fields’ previous reporting. “We stand behind her reporting, her techniques, and call again on Corey Lewandowski to apologise,“ the conservative news site’s CEO Larry Solov said in a statement.
The incident came a week after a Time magazine photographer was thrown to the floor by a Secret Service agent at another Trump rally.
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