Lewandowski brings a unique perspective to CNN’s panel of pundits, having firsthand experience in running a presidential campaign. However, the hiring was not without controversy. Lewandowski carries a reputation of being hostile toward journalists, including a verbal altercation with CNN producer Noah Gray last November, and a highly-publicized incident involving former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields in March.
Lewandowski served as campaign manager for Trump up until Monday, where he was dismissed shortly after an intervention by Trump’s family. The same day, Lewandowski met with prospective employers at multiple television networks. Sources at MSNBC confirmed that executives had met with Lewandowski, but ultimately did not make an offer for employment, citing ethical concerns.
CNN ultimately picked up Lewandowski in an exclusive, salaried deal, adding him to their list of political experts who appear across the network’s newscasts and talk shows.
Despite his dismissal from Trump’s campaign, Lewandowski remains loyal to the presumptive Republican nominee. “Trump is the only person who is going to save this country for my children,” he said.
Lewandowski is still bound by a non-disclosure agreement he signed while working for the Trump campaign, ensuring that he will not divulge confidential information. The agreement is thought to include a “non-disparagement clause,” which would prevent Lewandowski from publicly criticizing Trump. In his first appearance as a CNN commentator, anchor Erin Burnett asked about the clause’s existence, though he did not answer directly.
“I’m a guy who calls balls and strikes,” he said. “I’m going to tell it like it is… There is nothing that’s going to stop me from telling the truth, in my opinion.”