Donald Trump isn’t the only politician waging war on the press.
On Wednesday, a Montana politician named Greg Gianforte was accused of assaulting a political reporter for The Guardian. This scandal comes at the worst possible time for the Republican candidate as the alleged assault happened mere hours before the polls opened for the Montana House seat he’s running for.
So what exactly happened?? Well, multiple witnesses claim they saw Greg attack journalist Ben Jacobs following a question about the Republican health care plan. Not to mention, in a 911 call, Mr. Jacobs accuses Gianforte of “body slamming” him to the ground. He later reiterated this allegation on Twitter (below).
Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) May 24, 2017
How awful. Apparently, the altercation occurred at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters in Bozeman, Montana. According to reports, Greg was off in another room with local news when Jacobs entered to ask the House candidate a question. It wasn’t long before things took a violent turn. You can hear the fight go down in the audio recording (below).
Unsurprisingly, the politician has since been cited for misdemeanor assault for his violent interaction with Ben. In regards to the scandal, Sheriff Brian Gootkin noted in a statement:
“Following multiple interviews and an investigation by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office it was determined there was probable cause to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault. The nature of the injuries did not meet the statutory elements of felony assault.”
Fair enough. Greg was issued the citation on Wednesday evening and must answer it at the Gallatin County Justice Court by June 7.
Despite the damning evidence, Gianforte’s team is defending that the 56-year-old acted out of self-defense. A spokesperson for Gianforte stated:
“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. 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, pushed them both to the ground. It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”
Hmmm, they may need to listen to the tape, because they’re story does not match the audio recording of what went down. Although, TBH, Greg’s team is probably just scrambling since several MAJOR newspapers in Montana have pulled their endorsements for the aspiring Congressman.
As for the reporter, he seems to be doing relatively okay as he has spoken out about the incident. Ben has dubbed this encounter the “strangest thing” that has “ever happened to [him]” during his tenure as a political reporter. We bet!
[Image via Twitter.]