Updated at 9:06 a.m. ET
Donald Trump on Tuesday night continued to defend his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, from battery charges, insisting that his aide was protecting him from a reporter wielding a pen.
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump said that former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields tried to grab him before Lewandowski intervened, and the Republican presidential candidate continued to describe Fields as a potential threat during a CNN town hall.
“She was off base,” Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “She had a pen in her hand, which Secret Service is not liking because they don’t know what it is, whether it’s a little bomb.”
During a Wednesday morning interview on “Fox and Friends,” Trump said Fields was carrying a pen, suggesting that pens were not allowed at the March 8 press conference in Florida where the incident occurred.
“She’s got a pen in her hand, which she’s not supposed to have,” he said. “Secret Service can tell you that.”
Trump also addressed the charges filed against Lewandowski during an interview on Fox News with Sean Hannity. A spokeswoman for the campaign on Tuesday said that Lewandowski would not be fired even if he was convicted of the battery charge.
Trump told Hannity that if Lewandowski “threw her to the ground, I would have fired him immediately.” But Trump suggested that Fields has exaggerated Lewandowski’s actions during the incident.
Police filed misdemeanor battery charges against Lewandowski on Tuesday after Fields filed a complaint that he grabbed her arm, nearly pulling her to the ground, when she tried to ask Trump a question following a press conference.
Since Fields aired her claims, the Trump campaign has fiercely defended Lewandowski, and the Republican presidential candidate continued to do so on Tuesday afternoon. He claimed that Fields had “changed her tone” since initially accusing Lewandowski of manhandling her and suggested he could file charges against Fields, claiming that she was grabbing him at the press conference.
“I think it’s very, very unfair to a man with a wonderful family, back in new Hampshire, who gets, what, a criminal situation, over that?” he told reporters in Wisconsin. “I think it’s a very, very sad day in this country when a man can be destroyed over something like that.”