Donald Trump this week continued to defend his campaign manager after he was charged with simple battery against a reporter, and Hillary Clinton took on the subminimum wage.
“She Made Up This Story”: Trump Ignores Video Evidence to Defend Campaign Manager Against Battery Charges
Trump refused to back down from his defense of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski after Lewandowski was charged with simple battery for allegedly forcefully grabbing and bruising a former Breitbart reporter at a campaign event.
Police in Jupiter, Florida charged Lewandoski Tuesday after reporter Michelle Fields on March 8 complained that he grabbed her by the arm, threw her off balance, and left bruises. Fields was attempting to ask Trump a question when she felt someone “yank her left arm,” according to the arrest report.
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Fields later showed an officer “her left forearm, which revealed bruising from what appeared to be several finger marks indicating a grabbing type injury.”
In the weeks since the incident, Trump and Lewandowski have attempted to discredit Fields, calling her “delusional” and flatly denying an altercation ever occurred, though the Washington Post’s Ben Terris corroborated her account.
Video evidence of the incident appears to corroborate Fields’ account. Nonetheless, during an interview Wednesday on NBC’s Today Show, Trump claimed that Fields “made up this story.” He suggested she had provoked the incident. “She grabbed me by the arm, I didn’t even know who it was. But she went through Secret Service because they were surrounding me and we were walking out. And by the way she was asking me questions she wasn’t supposed to because the press conference had ended.”
Trump suggested he should press charges against Fields for what happened.
The GOP frontrunner cast doubts on Fields’ story, according to NPR, saying, “Wouldn’t you think she would have yelled out a scream if she had bruises on her arm?”
“What Donald Trump is doing fits the very definition of victim blaming, and it is not only unacceptable, it is actively dangerous,” Nita Chaudhary, cofounder of advocacy group UltraViolet, told the New York Times. “They are belittling Michelle Fields’s [sic] claim despite overwhelming evidence.”
“Comments like this essentially perpetuate violence against women,” Chaudhary added.
Trump’s campaign has been plagued by controversy over his treatment of women—and it could cost him votes. A CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday found that 74 percent of registered women voters polled said they viewed Trump “unfavorably.”
Trump has been harshly criticized for lobbing sexist remarks at Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly throughout the campaign season, accusing her of being a “lightweight” with “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever,” after she questioned his disparaging comments about women during an August debate.
This rhetoric led the Our Principles PAC, a super PAC formed by former Mitt Romney staffer Katie Packer, to create an ad highlighting direct quotes the candidate has made, including using terms directed at women like “bimbo” and “fat pig.”
Clinton Speaks Out Against Subminimum Wage
Clinton condemned “legal loopholes” that allow employers to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage during a Monday campaign stop in Madison, Wisconsin.
“When it comes to jobs, we’ve got to figure out how we get the minimum wage up and include people with disabilities in the minimum wage,” Clinton said in response to a question from an audience member about the candidate’s plan to address rights and job opportunities for disabled workers.
“There should not be a tiered wage, and right now there is a tiered wage when it comes to facilities that do provide opportunities but not at a self-sufficient wage that enables people to gain a degree of independence as far as they can go,” Clinton continued. “When people talk about raising the minimum wage, they don’t always talk about the legal loopholes that we have in it and I want to get rid of those and I want to get rid of that for people with disabilities too.”
Some employers are able to pay those with “a physical or mental disability” less than the minimum wage, or the subminimum wage under the Federal Labor Standard Act (FLSA). According to the Department of Labor, “Employment at less than the minimum wage is designed to prevent the loss of employment opportunities for these individuals.”
Disability rights advocates say that the policy has led to the exploitation of many of these workers.
Ari Ne’eman, co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, told the Huffington Post that Clinton’s comments were “game changing” for the issue. “To see a major presidential candidate take a stance on this is a very significant step,” Ne’eman said.
What Else We’re Reading
Trump told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews during a town hall event that women who receive abortion care should face “some form of punishment” if the procedure is outlawed, then backtracked amid criticism. But as Irin Carmon wrote for MSNBC, “Women are already being prosecuted for having abortions” in the United States.
Trump’s comments on punishing women who have abortions shines an “accidental spotlight on one of the most inconvenient truths of the Republican platform,” explained Jessica Valenti for the Guardian.
Politico’s Rachana Pradhan and Paul Demko ask where Cruz’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act is.
The Iowa Supreme Court will decide whether the state will restore voting rights to more than 20,000 ex-felons in the state.