Greg Gianforte, Montana’s GOP congress candidate, reportedly “body-slammed” a reporter from The Guardian late Wednesday as a Fox News crew watched.
Montana’s congressional candidate Greg Gianforte repotedly “body slammed” Ben Jacobs, a reporter from The Guardian, as witnesses recorded the incident.
The ordeal happened at Gianforte’s Bozeman headquarters. Jacobs approached the candidate with a recorder, asking him if he “had a response to the newly released congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act,” referencing the Affordable Care Act’s replacement offered by the Republicans.
The incident was reported by an eyewitness, Fox News’ Alicia Acuna, and was also caught on a recording. Gianforte said he would “get back to him later.”
When Jacobs insisted for a response, he told him to talk to Shane Scanlon, his spokesman. Gianforte then “grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.”
According to Alicia’s eyewitness report, she and her crew “watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter.”
Gianforte then yelled: “I’m sick and tired of this!” Jacobs then “scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken.”
He then reportedly asked the Fox News crew, who were “in shock”, for their names but they didn’t answer.
Acuna also said: “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 giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies.”
However, Gianforte’s campaign issued a statement, saying that Jacobs “grabbed Greg’s wrist.” It said that as Gianforte “tried to grab his phone, pushed [Jacob’s] face,” who then “spun away, 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.”
Responses to the Incident
Ahead of Thursday’s election, Gianforte was charged with assault by the county sheriff and lost endorsements from two Montana newspapers- the Billings Gazette and Missoulian.
Both newspapers also publicly denounced Gianforte.