Greg Gianforte will now be fighting for all of Montana. Maybe literally.
The Republican candidate for Montana’s at-large House seat won the election – primarily because most ballots were already cast – despite attacking a liberal reporter from a British newspaper and then denying it.
Gianforte assaulted Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian, after he pestered him with some annoying questions.
Caught on audiotape in what appeared to be a pretty one-sided fight, and with a Fox News crew witnessing the entire incident, Gianforte’s initial denial of the incident belied the facts.
Here was their statement after the incident:
“Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions. Jacobs was asked to leave,” Gianforte spokesman Shane Scanlon said.
He added: “After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”
Now here’s the audio of the confrontation:
And here’s the account from Fox News’ Alicia Acuna, who witnessed the incident.
The police arrived, and charged Gianforte with misdemeanor assault.
Despite all this, Gianforte beat his Democratic opponent Rob Quist with 50.5 percent of the vote. The main reason: Most of the ballots were already cast in early voting.
Within hours of winning the election, Gianforte’s campaign released a statement apologizing to the reporter:
“When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it,” he said at a victory party in Bozeman, Montana. “That’s the Montana way. Last night I made a mistake and I took an action that I can’t take back and I’m not proud of what happened. I should not have responded in the way that I did and for that I am sorry.”
— ABC News (@ABC) May 26, 2017
“I should not have treated that reporter that way and for that I am sorry Mr. Ben Jacobs,” he said.
This is interesting, since this was the first time he “owned up” to assaulting the reporter, having previously denied it.
After the incident, all three daily newspapers in Montana rescinded their endorsement.
Just hours before the attack, Gianforte sent out a fundraising letter saying that the election “will determine whether we pass Donald Trump’s America First agenda or if the fake news media and the national Democrats will win, keeping Obama’s reckless policies in place.”
H/T: The Daily Wire