When it comes to the historic candidacy of billionaire Donald Trump, the Republican firebrand whose march to the White House has caused us all to rethink this nation’s political order, there are clear differences of opinion. Trump’s distasteful comments about women and abortion, his lack of depth when it comes to foreign policy, his seeming lack of respect for this country’s institutions, even his bluster and bravado — they all make many cringe to contemplate Trump as GOP nominee, much less Trump as president.
But looking at the events of the last week, a week in which the glorified sheen of Trump’s campaign seemed to be losing some of its luster — if polls at press time are to be believed, he will lose the Wisconsin primary to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — there is one aspect of Trump’s persona that even his critics can respect. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is consistent in his loyalty to those around him.
When Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields accused Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski of grabbing her at a campaign event in Jupiter, Fla., Lewandowski initially denied it. Then an eyewitness came forward and corroborated Fields’ story. That was followed by police surveillance footage that appears to show Lewandowski grabbing the reporter.
Trump’s responses? “Mr. Lewandowski is absolutely innocent of this charge. He will enter a plea of not guilty and looks forward to his day in court,” campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement after Lewandowski was arrested and charged in Jupiter with simple battery.
In an interview, Trump dismissed the incident as “very minor,” saying that “practically nothing happened.” Elsewhere, he denied it happened at all. “She’s got no evidence. She made up the story,” he said.
While it would have been easier (and more conventional) for Trump to issue a simple statement respecting the legal process and letting the chips fall where they may, one can’t help but respect Trump’s embrace of Lewandowski and his effort to defend him. And that the whole dust-up — the filing of charges, and all — is over what seems to be a zealous reporter who broke out of the scrum to get a quote is troubling. Some of our own reporters have been similarly manhandled in the heat of covering campaigns; they never considered filing charges.
Through it all, Trump has proven that he’s guided by his own inner compass. And he has shown, once again, that he’s got a backbone. We don’t yet know how Trump will fare in the remaining challenges leading up to or during this summer’s Republican convention, but for his loyalty to those loyal to him, we say, “Bravo!”