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Trump campaign defends manager again after Tucson chaos

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Updated: Sunday, March 20, 2016, 12:32 PM

The stages of Donald Trump rallies: First comes anger, then denial.

The Trump campaign is once again refuting a video appearing to show hothead manager Corey Lewandowski roughing someone up at an event — in this case, a young man in Arizona who was yanked in the crowd.

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Trump himself even praised Lewandowski on Sunday for “having spirit” to duel with dissenters. And he knew exactly who to blame for the animosity in Arizona: The media.

“Why is it that the horrendous protesters, who scream, curse punch, shut down roads/doors during my RALLIES, are never blamed by media? SAD!” Trump tweeted.

Video shows Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski grabbing the collar of a protester, but the campaign said Lewandowski did not yank the man.CBS News

Video shows Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski grabbing the collar of a protester, but the campaign said Lewandowski did not yank the man.

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Footage from Saturday’s characteristically chaotic Trump rally in Tucson clearly shows Lewandowski grabbing the collar of a protester after a heated exchange. The protester falls back and pushes a man next to Lewandowski, but then stands to the side as a battle between other people in the crowd suddenly erupts.

But Trump’s presidential campaign blamed the invisible hand of a mystery man standing near Lewandowski.

“Corey Lewandowski was speaking with a protester at today’s rally in Tucson, Arizona when the individual he was speaking with was pulled from behind by the man to Lewandowski’s left,” campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement.

“The video clearly shows the protestor reacting to the man who pulled him, not to Mr. Lewandowski. Mr. Trump does not condone violence at his rallies, which are private events paid for by the campaign.”

The pulled protester hasn’t been identified.

Trump told ABC’s “This Week” that security in Tucson was “lax,” so Lewandowski had to take matters into his own angry hands. Even so, Trump said his campaign manager “didn’t touch” anyone.

This comes only days after Lewandowski allegedly grabbed Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields by the arm at a Florida press conference — another altercation caught on camera. The right-wing news website refused to defend its own reporter amidst the accusations, sparking a mutiny in which Fields and three other staffers resigned.

Trump’s rallies have been increasingly ravaged by violence from his goon supporters. As Trump traveled through Arizona Saturday, he carried chaos everywhere he went.

At least one other Tucson protester — 33-year-old Bryan Sanders — was beaten in the crowd while cameras rolled. Sanders told the Daily News he was happy to be “not dead” after wading through the fires of Trump fans.

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A tense standoff between anti-Trump demonstrators and police held up highway traffic for miles outside of Phoenix — with the GOP front-runner himself getting delayed on his way to a rally in Fountain Hills. Police eventually broke up the brigade and arrested three people.

Anti-Trump protesters backed up highway traffic as the presidential candidate traveled through Arizona. FOX 10

Anti-Trump protesters backed up highway traffic as the presidential candidate traveled through Arizona.

Enlarge Protester Bryan Sanders (in American flag shirt) was beaten on camera at Trump's Tucson rally. SAM MIRCOVICH/REUTERS

Protester Bryan Sanders (in American flag shirt) was beaten on camera at Trump’s Tucson rally.

Enlarge

As Donald Trump traveled through Arizona, protesters backed up traffic for miles on the highway. At his Tucson rally, protester Bryan Sanders (r.) was beaten on camera.

Trump traveled with notorious far-right Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio — who earned applause at a rally by announcing the arrests of Trump’s opposers.

On “This Week,” the blabbering billionaire also claimed a protester “wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit” upset his supporters at one rally and needed to be booted with force.

“It was a tough thing to watch, and I watched that,” Trump said.

“Why would a protester walk into a room with a Ku Klux Klan outfit on?”

The Trump campaign has refuted all allegations of manager Corey Lewandowski (c.) roughing up people at events for the GOP front-runner.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Trump campaign has refuted all allegations of manager Corey Lewandowski (c.) roughing up people at events for the GOP front-runner.

There has been no evidence of the hooded hooligan in Arizona — although actual Klansmen have long been vocal Trump lovers.

Trump has consistently encouraged his flock to fight with protesters at his rallies, and — despite denying he said so — has vowed to pay the legal bills for any supporter who starts violence.

The latest polls show Trump leading the GOP pack for Tuesday’s winner-take-all Arizona primary.

jsilverstein@nydailynews.com

Tags:
donald trump ,
2016 election ,
arizona ,
klu klux klan


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