Corey Lewandowski, a former advisor to President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign who sparked controversy by joining CNN as a commentator, has left the network, according to a spokeswoman for the Time Warner-owned cable-news outlet.
His departure was reported previously by CNN.
Lewandowski served as a campaign manager for Trump before parting ways, then joined CNN in June. The move raised eyebrows, and had CNN Worldwide President answering questions about whether a partisan commentator – who, as it turned out, continued to collect severance from the Trump campaign – should be allowed on CNN. He was also unable to offer direct comment on some matters because of a non-disclosure agreement. To some viewers and critics, his hire represented a violation of traditional standards of journalism. Fox News Channel primetime anchor Sean Hannity was reprimanded in September, for example, for appearing in a promotional video for the Trump campaign.
“The reason we hired Corey is that now that we are in the general election, I think it’s really important to have voices on CNN who are supportive of the Republican nominee,” Zucker told Variety in August. “He’s come under a much greater spotlight because of who he is, and the relationship he’s had with the media. As a result, people are going to be more critical.”
On CNN, Lewandowski maintained an aggressive presence, telling Clinton surrogate Christine Quinn in August, “Don’t touch me!” And as Trump emerged as the winner of the electoral college votes needed to get into the White House, he was seen on CNN lording it over Democratic commentator Van Jones. “You won,” Jones said. “Say it again. I didn’t hear you,” Lewandowski retorted.
Lewandowski was fired from the Trump campaign in June, after he became part of the news cycle he helped to spin. In March, Michelle Fields, then a reporter for Breitbart News, alleged she was grabbed forcefully by Lewandowski as she approached Trump, then a Republican candidate, to ask a question. He was charged with a simple count of battery in Jupiter, Florida, though he maintained his innocence. The Palm Beach County State Attorney declined to prosecute, citing insufficient evidence for a criminal investigation.
Lewandowski is a former lobbyist who has worked for several campaigns. He also ran for political office himself – once in New Hampshire and once in Massachusetts – though he did not win in either instance.