At a rally in Jupiter, Florida, last month, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who has a disturbing history of misogynistic behavior, grabbed then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields and shoved her aside, allegedly leaving a black-and-blue mark on her arm. The entire incident was caught on video, and Lewandowksi was charged with simple battery by the Jupiter Police Department.
Of the incident, Trump, who has his own problematic history with women, claimed at a CNN town hall, “She was grabbing me, and just so you understand, she was off-base because she went through the Secret Service. 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.” Yes, she was a reporter with a pen in her hand—novel concept!—and this apparently frightened Trump, who’s repeatedly claimed he’d “knock off” ISIS yet seems deathly scared of Bic-wielding female reporters at his own rallies… and bald eagles.
Well, on Friday’s edition of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the show’s host—who is no fan of Donald Trump’s, who once sued him for $5 million over a silly joke—came to Team Donald’s defense, saying “nothing had happened” in the video of Fields clearly being pushed by Lewandowski.
“Oh my god, it’s like the Zapruder film—if nothing had happened,” Maher said of the video. “But everybody on the left had to say—and this is what I hate when liberals do, when they mimic the stupidity of the right—they had to get on team ‘he almost killed her.’ And this woman said, and she was talking about the whole event, she said, ‘This has to be, aside from my father’s death, the worst experience I’ve gone through,’ and I thought, ‘What a charmed, lucky, clueless white girl life you have lived if that’s the worst thing that happened to you.’ Do we have to politicize everything?”
“[Lewandowski] shouldn’t have been [arrested]! It’s not assault!” Maher exclaimed later, adding, “If you cut in line in a bathroom at a nightclub, would there be an assault charge? Nobody can take someone’s arm anymore in America? That’s assault?”
First, Maher oddly refused to even say the victim’s name—Michelle Fields—out loud. Second, he clearly misunderstood what Lewandowski had been charged with. It wasn’t “assault,” as he claimed, but “simple battery.” According to Section 784.03 in the Florida Statutes, “battery” is defined as, “1) Any actual and intentional touching or striking of another person against that person’s will (non-consensual), or 2) the intentional causing of bodily harm to another person.” The offense is branded “simple battery” if “there are no aggravating factors or enhancements at play,” e.g. a weapon, serious bodily injury, or domestic abuse.
So yes, by that definition, Lewandowski appeared to commit simple battery. In Florida, it is a first-degree misdemeanor crime that can bring a sentence of up to one year in prison or 12 months probation, and a $1,000 fine. Maher’s decision to defend a man who clearly appeared to grab and shove a female reporter for doing her job in the name of America’s crippling political correctness was irresponsible at best. It sounded downright Trump-ian.
Maher’s defense of Lewandowski seemed doubly odd considering his anti-Trump stance during the earlier portions of the program. In his monologue, Maher proudly branded the GOP frontrunner “a bipolar five-year-old” for branding Ted Cruz a liar and cheat after losing Wisconsin to him. “He has two settings: you cheated, and you started it! It’s like, if I win I win, and if you win, it doesn’t because you cheated, so fuck you! I’m beginning to see why nobody went to his casinos,” said Maher. “By the way, Donald Trump’s campaign is a lot like his casinos: full of smoke and mirrors, and older white people dealt bad hands.”