A group of influential female journalists, including many conservative media stars, called on Republican front-runner Donald Trump Wednesday to fire his campaign manager.
Corey Lewandowski has been charged with battery following a physical altercation with reporter Michelle Fields on March 8 at Trump's golf club in Florida. In the letter released Wednesday, 16 women called on the real estate mogul to take action:
"Never in this line of work is it acceptable to respond to reasonable and legitimate questioning with the use of physical force," the statement reads. "The photographs, audio, videos, and witness accounts documenting the treatment of Michelle Fields by Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's campaign manager, are inexcusable and unprofessional. Donald Trump should immediately remove Lewandowski from his campaign."
The 16 signatories include some of the most powerful women in conservative media, including the syndicated radio host Dana Loesch, Townhall.com Editor Katie Pavlich, CNN's S.E. Cupp, The Federalist's Mary Katherine Ham and radio host Meghan McCain, the daughter of former GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Trump's campaign has said that even if Lewandowski is convicted of battery at trial later this year, he will not be fired.
In the 24 hours since Lewandowski was arrested on Tuesday, Trump and his campaign manager have worked relentlessly to deny what is clearly visible on video. Namely, that Lewandowski roughly grabbed Fields as she was asking Trump a question about affirmative action. As the campaign manager yanked her back, Fields nearly fell over.
Unable to continue denying that his campaign manager ever touched Fields, Trump shifted tactics, smearing and victim-blaming Fields in at least six different TV interviews.
Trump painted the young woman as an "aggressive," dangerous person who posed an immediate threat to Trump's safety because she was holding a pen, which Trump said could have been "a little bomb."
By making a public statement, the 16 women who called for Lewandowski’s removal are entering uncharted territory in the age of digital media.
The journalists risk alienating some of their millions of listeners, viewers and readers, many of whom passionately back the front-runner. Most of the signatories also have thousands of social media fans, and the statement puts them in the digital crosshairs of some of Trump’s angriest supporters.
Angry haters aside, the impact on the Trump campaign of losing such an influential bloc of female voices from the political right could be significant.
Even before Trump attacked Fields and coddled Lewandowski, he had a problem attracting female voters. The last few days have only further alienated women from the Trump campaign, as the candidate fired off attacks against Fields that are widely used to discredit female crime victims.
Trump claims that Fields changed her story after the fact (she didn’t), and that she didn’t scream loudly enough, so she couldn’t possibly have been grabbed. Trump also repeatedly called Lewandowski a nice, “family man,” as if that somehow mitigated his aggressive grabbing of Fields.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.