Donald Trump’s ousted campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on Sunday tweeted a link to a New York Times report about his replacement Paul Manafort’s murky ties to a Ukrainian political party.
Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Donald Trump’s Campaign Chief https://t.co/7bh7iIHHaY
— Corey Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) August 15, 2016
The Times story reported on Manafort’s tenure as an advisor to former Ukranian president Viktor Yanukovych, and charged that he was earmarked to receive $12.7 million in cash in a secret ledger maintained by Yanukovych’s political party. Manafort has denied receiving illegal funds from the now-defunct Party of Regions, accusing the Times of attacking his “reputation” with the “falsely reported” story.
Lewandowski, who is now a commentator on CNN still receiving severance from the Trump campaign, claimed on air on Monday that he brought attention to the story to highlight the media’s unfair focus on Trump, rather than as a knock on the staffer who filled his shoes.
“Why did you decide to tweet that little tidbit?” CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked.
“You know what it does? It goes exactly to the point I just made,” Lewandowski said, arguing that the Times reports negatively on Trump but ignores coverage of unflattering stories on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“The media is now focusing on a private person who had a private business model,” Lewandowski argued. “No one says there’s anything illegal about what he did. He’s saying he didn’t receive the money.”
Lewandowski’s fellow CNN hosts pointed out that the tweet, which linked to the story and included no commentary, did not clarify that he was trying to bolster the Trump campaign’s recent attacks on the Times. Many Clinton staffers interpreted the tweet as a slight on Manafort, who reportedly helped orchestrate Lewandowski’s dismissal from the Trump campaign.
The two men have clashed publicly before. After Melania Trump used language plagiarized from Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech in her address at the Republican National Convention, Lewandowski suggested that Manafort should step down if the borrowed wording turned out to be his fault.
“I think if it was Paul Manafort, he would do the right thing and resign,” he said at the time.
Donald Trump Jr. fired back at Lewandowski, saying Manafort had replaced him for a reason.
“There is a reason Paul is in the position that he is today and Corey is not and it is not because Paul is amateur hour,” Trump Jr. said.
Despite the barbed comment by Trump’s eldest son, Lewandowski has continued to act as a booster for the Republican nominee on CNN. He has received phone calls from the real estate mogul on the network’s set, and was praised by Trump for remaining “very loyal” to him in his on-air appearances.