Trump is interviewed after a press conference in Jupiter, Fla., on March 8. (Photo: Lynne Sladky/AP)
Less than a week after she was allegedly assaulted by Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields has resigned from the conservative news site because she says her employer did not have her back in the days following the incident.
“Today I informed the management at Breitbart News of my immediate resignation,” Fields said in a statement to BuzzFeed early Monday. “I do not believe Breitbart News has adequately stood by me during the events of the past week and because of that I believe it is now best for us to part ways.”
Fields’ colleague, editor-at-large Ben Shapiro, also resigned in protest.
Breitbart, which was founded in 2007 by the late outspoken conservative Andrew Breitbart, has been accused of having a pro-Trump bias since the billionaire businessman launched his campaign.
“Andrew’s life mission has been betrayed,” Shapiro wrote. “Indeed, Breitbart News, under the chairmanship of Steve Bannon, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew’s legacy. In my opinion, Steve Bannon is a bully, and has sold out Andrew’s mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump; he has shaped the company into Trump’s personal Pravda, to the extent that he abandoned and undercut his own reporter, Breitbart News’ Michelle Fields, in order to protect Trump’s bully campaign manager.“
I can’t stand with an organization that won’t stand by me: https://t.co/pohxCKScpf
— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields)
Fields says she was attempting to ask Trump a question after his press conference in Jupiter, Fla., last week when she was grabbed and nearly thrown to the ground by the Republican frontrunner’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.
“Trump acknowledged the question, but before he could answer, I was jolted backwards,” Fields wrote in a blog post. “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.”
While Fields did not see who grabbed her, a reporter for the Washington Post told her it was Lewandowski.
“I quickly turned around and saw Lewandowski and Trump exiting the building together. No apology. No explanation for why he did this,” she wrote. “Even if Trump was done taking questions, Lewandowski would be out of line. Campaign managers aren’t supposed to try to forcefully throw reporters to the ground, no matter the circumstance.”
The Trump campaign dismissed Fields’ claim.
“There are often large crowds aggressively seeking access to Mr. Trump,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement to ABC News. “And our staff would never do anything to harm another individual.”
Lewandowski accused Fields of being “totally delusional.”
@MichelleFields you are totally delusional. I never touched you. As a matter of fact, I have never even met you.
— Corey Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_)
“I never touched you,” he wrote on Twitter. “As a matter of fact, I have never even met you.”
In response, Fields tweeted a photo of bruises on her left arm.
“I guess these just magically appeared on me,” she wrote.
— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields)
After Thursday’s GOP debate in Miami, Trump accused Fields of fabricating the story because Secret Service officers at the event told him that nothing happened.
“This was in my opinion made up,” Trump told CNN. “I didn’t see anything. All of a sudden, we heard about it later on, but the Secret Service said nothing happened. Everybody said nothing happened. Perhaps she made the story up. I think that’s what happened.”
On Friday, Fields filed a police report against Lewandowski. The Jupiter Police Department said it was investigating the alleged incident.
The same day, Breitbart published an article asserting that while Fields was indeed hurt in the incident, the available evidence suggests Lewandowski was not responsible.
Following the resignations of Fields and Shapiro, Breitbart published a piece mocking mocking their exodus. The site subsequently deleted the story.
Two other Breitbart staffers — national security correspondent Jordan Schachtel and editor Jarrett Stepman — resigned on Monday afternoon.
"Breitbart News is no longer a journalistic enterprise,” Schachtel wrote, “but instead, in my opinion, something resembling an unaffiliated media super PAC for the Trump campaign.”
Michael Walsh contributed reporting to this story.