Jeffrey Lord is approaching his one-year anniversary as a designated pro-Donald Trump commentator on CNN’s airwaves, and now he’s got another colleague to assist with the mountainous task of apologizing for the frequent outrages of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Yesterday CNN announced that it had hired fired Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to do what Lord — as well as commentator Kayleigh McEnany — does each grueling week. In a chat with the Erik Wemple Blog, a generous Lord gave no indication of turf-consciousness. “Oh, God, not in the least. I think he’ll be a terrific asset,” says Lord.
On Erin Burnett’s show last night, Lewandowski tiptoed around a question about whether he’s bound by legal agreement not to disparage Trump. “I’m a guy who calls balls from strikes,” he responded, in part. Evasive answers are quite common on CNN airwaves, though this particular evasion was coming from a person on the CNN payroll.
So we asked Lord, hey, what about this non-disclosure stuff? Doesn’t that compromise the information that Lewandowski might pass along to viewers? Not at all, said Lord: “I know him — he is genuinely a fan of Donald Trump’s. He really feels this is the opportunity of a lifetime. There’s no hard feelings there toward Trump whatsoever. He’s really telling the truth here.”
To sum up: Any non-disparagement clause binding on Lewandowski is irrelevant in this case because he’d never disparage Trump under any circumstances.
Lewandowski’s hiring, says Lord, is a “great call” by CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker and Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist. In defending the move, Lord relies on history: “This is the latest incarnation of something that began long ago and has become the norm,” he says, referring the the jump from politics to broadcasting.