Politics & Government

CNN hires Corey Lewandowski even though he threatened to blacklist their reporter

In this photo taken April 3, Corey Lewandowski talks to a member of the media at Nathan Hale High School in West Allis, Wisconsin.
In this photo taken April 3, Corey Lewandowski talks to a member of the media at Nathan Hale High School in West Allis, Wisconsin. AP

Corey Lewandowski has arguably become a figure nearly as controversial as his former boss, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Lewandowski was fired from the Trump campaign on Monday, for reasons that are not totally clear, but he had quickly secured a position with CNN on Thursday.

The former Trump campaign manger’s decision to join the media seems odd, given the Trump campaign’s relationship not only with the media in general, but with CNN particularly.

The Trump campaign chose to ban or “blacklist” certain reporters and entire media outlets from campaign events, including the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, the National Review, the Daily Beast, Politico, the Huffington Post and more.

Lewandowski himself was charged with battery in Florida when he allegedly grabbed former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields’ arm and yanked on her arm, leaving bruises. Lewandowski originally denied knowing who she was or ever touching her, but video of the incident later surfaced and clearly shows Lewandowski pulling on Fields’ arm.

Those charges were later dropped.

And while it’s hard to say if Lewandowski himself was part of the decision to blacklist certain reporters, he personally threatened to blacklist at least one, and that reporter was from CNN.

Noah Gray was covering a Trump rally in Worcester, Massachusetts when protestors started shouting during the rally and were led out by police, according to the Washington Post. Gray and other journalists left the “media pen” to talk to the protestors, and Lewnadowski turned to campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks and said, “Hey: Tell Noah, get back in the pen or he’s f------ blacklisted,” according to a recording of the incident.

Lewandowski then went after Gray personally and told him to get back in the pen or his media credentials would be revoked. Gray took a video of the incident.

Brian Stelter, CNN’s senior media correspondent, called the logic behind CNN’s decision “obvious.”

Lewandowski had his first interview following his departure from the Trump campaign with CNN’s Dana Bash on Monday. Lewandowski allegedly went straight from that interview to a meeting with CNN executives, according to Politico.

A spokeswoman for CNN declined to answer if Lewandowski knew about the meeting prior to interview, only saying he wasn’t offered the job before then.

“Not a single conversation with Corey happened until after his interview,” she said.

She declined to answer questions about Lewandowski’s past history with reporters and if that history was a concern to CNN executives.

Trump has repeatedly criticized CNN for what he says is biased reporting, and he and his followers frequently call it the “Clinton News Network.”