Politics is a dirty game and the constant media attention around election time would be enough to make anyone snap. Apparently that is exactly what happened to Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate in Montana’s upcoming special congressional election just hours ago.
According to eyewitness accounts and an audio recording of the event, Gianforte allegedly body slammed a reporter from The Guardian and broke his glasses on Wednesday night during an altercation in Gianforte’s campaign headquarters in Bozeman, Montana. The incident took place the night before the state’s special election on Thursday and assault charges have been filed. Furthermore, two newspapers have rescinded their endorsements of Gianforte.
The incident occured when Ben Jacobs, a political reporter for The Guardian, was questioning Gianforte on the topic of healthcare when the candidate lost his temper and “body-slammed” Jacobs, shouting “Get the hell out of here!” immediately afterward. “He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said. “This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”
Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) May 24, 2017
Gianforte’s campaign, on the other hand, put the blame firmly on Jacobs, citing the journalist’s aggressive interviewing technique. “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,” Shane Scanlon, Gianforte’s spokesman detailed in his account of events.
“Jacobs was asked to leave,” Scanlon continued. “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.”
The Republican candidate for Montana’s congressional seat has been charged with misdemeanor assault and not everyone agrees with his campaign’s version of events. Fox News correspondent Alicia Acuna claims that Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck and slammed him to the ground. “To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte,” Acuna wrote in her piece. Listen to the audio and draw your own conclusion.
— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) May 25, 2017