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Getting to Harvard, the Corey Lewandowski way

Corey Lewandowski, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, speaks at the City Club of Cleveland in August. (Dake Kang/AP)

The past 14 months have been tumultuous for Corey Lewandowski, President Trump’s divisive former campaign manager.

After being muscled out of the campaign last summer, he took a job as a paid pundit at CNN, where he continued his combative defenses of the unlikely candidate. After Trump won the November election, Lewandowski left the network with rumors swirling that he was being considered for a spot in the administration.

When that didn’t work out, he co-founded a consulting firm and boasted about his access to the president. In May, he left the firm amid reports that he was offering access to White House officials but had failed to register as a lobbyist.

Lewandowski was also working as a commentator for the pro-Trump cable channel One America News Network. But he reportedly got fired from there in July for spending too much time on other news shows.

On Tuesday, Lewandowski’s ever-shifting career path took another turn when Harvard University announced that he would join the prestigious Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics as a visiting fellow.

It’s not clear exactly what the role entails or what he has planned, but the Harvard Crimson reports that he and other fellows will host “several events for students on campus” during the fall semester.

The five other visiting fellows announced Tuesday include Cornell William Brooks, a civil rights attorney and former president of the NAACP, and Steven L. Beshear, former governor of Kentucky. Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” were named as visiting fellows over the summer.

In addition them, there are six other fellows in the Institute of Politics, including former Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz, and Dan Balz, The Washington Post’s chief political correspondent.

“This diverse group of policymakers, journalists, political advisors and activists provides a robust platform for dynamic interaction with our students and the larger Harvard community,” Bill Delahunt, the institute’s acting director, said in a statement Tuesday. “They will stimulate discussion in the Institute of Politics’ tradition of encouraging civil discourse and respectful exchange of ideas.”

Harvard’s announcement highlights Lewandowski’s work on Trump’s “historic presidential campaign,” his frequent appearances as a political commentator and his “in-depth understanding of the political process and the administration of President Donald J. Trump.”

In a tweet Tuesday, Lewandowski said it was a “great honor to be selected” for the fellowship.

A native of the Boston area, Lewandowski received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and his master’s from American University.

On the campaign trail, he became known for his aggressive temperament, his fierce loyalty to Trump and his overt hostility to reporters covering the election. In March 2016, he was captured on video grabbing a Breitbart News reporter by the arm and roughly yanking her away from Trump as she tried to ask a question at an event in Florida. He was charged with misdemeanor battery over the incident, which left the reporter bruised, but the charge was later dropped.

Lewandowski’s last public appearance at Harvard was in December when he took part in an explosive panel discussion between members of the Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns at the university’s Kennedy School of Government.

At one point during the shouting match, Lewandowski, in a bizarre logical contortion fit only for the Trump era, faulted journalists for accurately reporting what Trump said during the campaign.

“This is the problem with the media. You guys took everything that Donald Trump said so literally,” Lewandowski said. “The American people didn’t. They understood it. They understood that sometimes — when you have a conversation with people, whether it’s around the dinner table or at a bar — you’re going to say things, and sometimes you don’t have all the facts to back it up.”

In the same session, Lewandowski said he thought the executive editor of the New York Times should be put in jail for wanting to publish Trump’s tax returns. He also suggested that people who burn the American flag should be stripped of their citizenship.

Lewandowski brought up Harvard during an appearance on CNN last summer when he suggested that President Barack Obama was concealing his actual birthplace because he hadn’t released his transcripts from the university. Obama attended Harvard Law School and served as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. Lewandowski was peddling the thoroughly discredited conspiracy theory, long pushed by Trump, that Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

“Did he ever release his transcripts from Harvard,” Lewandowski asked CNN panelists during a discussion about Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns. “The question was, did he get in as a U.S. citizen or was he brought into Harvard University as a citizen who wasn’t from this country?”

Obama released his long-form birth certificate in 2011. More than five years later, in September 2016, Trump acknowledged for the first time that Obama was born in the United States.

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