Donald Trump's former campaign manager got off to rough start in his new gig as a CNN contributor last week and that continued on Monday when a colleague confronted him with reports that he's unpopular around the newsroom.
In response to comments from "New Day" co-host Alisyn Camerota, Corey Lewandowski tried to paint a rosy picture of his relationship with the press. He disputed that he is persona non grata among CNN's staff because of his infamously combative attitude toward reporters up until he was fired as Trump's campaign manager on June 20.
"I don’t know if you’ve heard about some of the reaction," Camerota said, alluding to reports that CNN staff have criticized Lewandowski's hiring. "It turns out not everybody is a fan of the decision and I think that the crux of the criticism is that you’ve never seemed to be a big fan of the press or to have much respect for the press. Why did you have such strained relations during your time there at the Trump campaign with the press."
Despite evidence to the contrary, including allegations that he battered a reporter by grabbing her arm, Lewandowski insisted that he worked well with journalists. (The battery charge was later dropped.)
"I don’t think that’s true. I think what you have is if you look at the individuals i worked closely with on a day-to-day basis, we had great relationships," Lewandowski said. "I have great relationships the media. Those individuals who are embeds get to know me the best. The individuals who I spoke to on a regular basis, the individuals who are on your set here today."
Lewandowski upped the rhetoric about his feelings toward the news media after Camerota questioned him about his threat to blacklist a CNN reporter who'd left an area designated for journalists at a Trump event in November.
"Look, I love everybody ... I love you, right?" he said to Camerota.
Page Six reported on Friday that Lewandowski's hiring nearly provoked a revolt and that he's especially unpopular with female reporters and producers.
When Brian Stelter, CNN's media correspondent, did a follow-up story he concluded that Lewandowski's hiring produced "discomfort" around the newsroom.
"The bottom line is I have a great relationship with the press," Lewandowski said to Camerota. "I have a lot of friends at all the networks and that’s the truth."
"I’ve been so lucky to interact with the press as much as I have," he continued. "It doesn’t mean I always agree. It doesn’t mean that I’m always going to agree because I’m a person who’s going to call it the way I see it and if I think something’s out of line I’m going to tell people that."