CNN president Jeff Zucker had only good things to say about former Trump campaign manager and newly-minted CNN commentator Corey Lewandowski in an interview with Variety published Tuesday.
“The reason we hired Corey is that now that we are in the general election, I think it’s really important to have voices on CNN who are supportive of the Republican nominee,” Zucker said. “It’s hard to find a lot of those.”
He disagreed with criticism that Lewandowski continues to act as a Trump campaign spokesman rather than an analyst.
“I actually think he’s done a really nice job,” Zucker added, according to Variety. “He’s come under a much greater spotlight because of who he is, and the relationship he’s had with the media. As a result, people are going to be more critical.”
Lewandowski became infamous after a physical run-in with a female reporter covering one of Trump’s press conferences earlier this year, and had a reported history of bullying and other inappropriate behavior. He was fired from the Trump campaign in June and joined CNN as a salaried political commentator days later.
His hiring caused a stir when Lewandowski refused to discuss the circumstances of his dismissal and the possibility that he had signed a non-disclosure agreement while in Trump’s employ, which would prevent him from disparaging the candidate. Lewandowski has since defended his former boss on air, even taking a phone call from Trump while on set.