Donald Trump maintained during a CNN debate that he wouldn't fire his embattled campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Lewandowski was arrested and charged with simple battery in Jupiter, Florida, over the alleged battery of former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks, along with Lewandowski's attorney Scott Richardson, released a statement saying that he is "absolutely innocent" of the charge.
"He will enter a plea of not guilty and looks forward to his day in court. He is completely confident that he will be exonerated," the statement read.
During a CNN town hall event, Trump was asked about the incident by moderator Anderson Cooper and said that he would not fire Lewandowski despite his arrest and the charge against him.
"It would be so easy for me to terminate this man," Trump said. "Ruin his life, ruin his family."
He doubled down on his promise not to terminate Lewandowski during an interview on his private plane. "I don't discard people," he said. In a series of tweets following the incident, Trump accused Fields of physically touching him following the press conference where the alleged battery took place.
"Why is she allowed to grab me and shout questions? Can I press charges?" he tweeted alongside a screen shot of himself and Fields.
Fields reportedly showed a police officer bruises on her left forearm, which appeared to be caused by somebody grabbing her.
"How do you know those bruises weren't there before?" Trump asked on his plane. "Wouldn't you think she would have yelled out a scream or something if she had bruises on her arm?"
"We leave to others whether [this is] part of a larger pattern of exaggerating incidents, but on multiple occasions she has become part of the news story as opposed to reporting it. Recall she also claimed to have been beaten by a New York City Police officer with a baton," Hicks said in a statement, CNN reported.
Trump previously spoke highly of Lewandowski, saying that he hired him on the spot after a meeting at Trump tower in late 2014.
"We hit it off, and if you don’t hit it off with your campaign manager, you have a problem," Trump said in an interview, the Washington Post reported.