WASHINGTON – President Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said that the “Secret Service didn’t break anything up” but indicated that he and Chief of Staff John Kelly got into some kind of physical altercation at the White House in February.
Lewandowski, sitting for an interview with his co-author David Bossie on “Fox News Sunday,” was asked by host Chris Wallace about a fight reported last month in the New York Times.
Lewandowski acknowledged that “John and I had a very candid discussion.”
Asked directly whether Kelly grabbed him, he responded, “I don’t want to get into what John may or may not have done, but what I do think is he understands that my position is to support the president and the president’s agenda all the time.”
The Times described the altercation as a “near brawl” where Kelly “grabbed Mr. Lewandowski by the collar and tried to have him ejected from the West Wing.”
Lewandowski and Bossie were promoting their book, “Trump’s Enemies: How the Deep State is Undermining the Presidency,” during the interview while touting Trump’s political agenda.
In the book that comes out Tuesday, Lewandowski and Bossie, the president’s former deputy campaign manager, take issue with the media, the Democrats, some “never Trump”-type Republicans on Capitol Hill and current and former White House staffers.
They call people like former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and former director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn members of the “November 9th Club” – individuals they allege only became Trump supporters once the Republican won the White House.
“I’m sure that Gary Cohn didn’t vote for him … and there are many individuals who fought hard to get into the White House who did everything they could prior to him getting elected to keep him from being in the White House,” Lewandowski told Wallace. “And what we do is we call these people out, because it’s the right thing to do.”
“And this is not dissimilar from what Melania Trump has said, that there are still people inside the building who they don’t trust. And President Trump said in his own interview recently that there are people in the building who he cannot trust,” Lewandowski continued.
Bossie chimed in to point out that, “we still don’t know who wrote the anonymous letter,” referring to the op-ed written by a “senior official in the Trump administration” that was published in the Times on Sept. 5.
As for Trump’s “enemies” hiding among the current White House staff, Bossie said that they were out there, but “we don’t necessarily know who they are.”
Neither Lewandowski nor Bossie would lump Kelly into that category, but suggested the chief of staff was doing Trump a disservice by limiting the president’s exposure to the duo.
In the opening of the book and during the interview Sunday, Lewandowski and Bossie said they weren’t allowed to walk around the White House campus without a handler.
“Well, I respect John Kelly for his service to the country and for as long as the president wants to keep him as chief of staff that will be his prerogative, but to say that Dave and I – two people who have been unresolved in our support for the president – to have an escort, which almost nobody else has to have, I think is a little bit out of bounds,” Lewandowski complained.
Bossie called it “unfortunate that General Kelly doesn’t utilize us as much as we think he should.”
Lewandowski also said he was concerned that Trump wasn’t being told about important calls, such as the president’s missed opportunity to talk to Bob Woodward for the journalist’s tome “Fear.”
When Kelly came in as chief of staff in July 2017, he attempted to curb access to the president.
“I also think you have a president that wants access to individuals, who wants to take phone calls – in our book we interview him and he says nobody calls me, I don’t get my messages – that is a failure somewhere in the staff chain that the president doesn’t have the right to get to the people that are trying to reach him,” Lewandowski said.
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