UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark has got a point:
— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) May 25, 2017
Washington Post reporting, never ever ever let your temper get the best of you like this in politics:
Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate in Montana’s special congressional election, was charged with misdemeanor assault Wednesday after allegedly assaulting a reporter for the Guardian who had been trying to ask him a question. Gianforte, who is seen as the slight favorite in a race that ends Thursday, left what was supposed to be a final campaign rally at his Bozeman headquarters without making remarks.
The Gallatin County sheriff’s office announced the charges in a press release posted to the county website. At a press conference earlier in the day, Sheriff Brian Gootkin said that witnesses were being interviewed, and that four other people had been present for the incident…
Reporter Ben Jacobs of the Guardian reportedly asked GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte his opinion about the Congressional Budget Office score of the latest Republican proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act. After Jacobs brushed off one round of dust-off from Gianforte like any reporter worth their salt would do, he asked again. And then:
After Gianforte tells Jacobs to direct the question to his spokesman, Shane Scanlon, there is the sound of an altercation, and Gianforte begins to scream.
“I’m sick and tired of you guys!” Gianforte says. “The last guy that came in here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here! Get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?”
“Yes, and you just broke my glasses,” Jacobs says.
“The last guy did the same damn thing,” Gianforte says.
“You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses,” Jacobs says.
“Get the hell out of here,” Gianforte says.
The incident was witnessed by a FOX News crew, which posted a commendably straightforward account of the assault:
Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, “I’m sick and tired of this!”
Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. Jacobs then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized. At that point, I told him and Scanlon, who was now present, that we needed a moment. The men then left.
To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies.
And there you have it, folks! Gianforte’s campaign later put out a statement attempting to blame the reporter for being assaulted, but the FOX News crew’s story had already undermined it. Gianforte is described as the “slight favorite” in this race, which like other recent special elections has been dramatically narrowed by voter discontent with Republicans under President Donald Trump. Montana like Colorado is a mail-ballot state, and a large percentage of votes in this election have already been cast. With that said, lots of Montanans will be voting today as well. After this, maybe a lot more.
So now we get to see if assaulting a reporter the day before the election is, you know, a disqualifier.