On the eve of Montana’s special election, the Republican candidate, tech millionaire Greg Gianforte, assaults a journalist on tape, throwing him to the ground and punching him in the face

Sadly, I suspect it could help him with some percentage of the Republican base, but, earlier this evening, Greg Gianforte, the tech millionaire running for Montana’s single House seat, literally attacked a reporter from the Guardian, throwing him to the ground and breaking his glasses in the process. Reports are sketchy, but it sounds as though Gianforte may have taken off before being questioned by police at the scene… Here’s the incredibly unsettling audio.

Yup, all the reporter asked was whether or not Gianforte would be supporting the President’s health care bill, which, according to a report released by the Congressional Budget Office today, would rob 23 million Americans of their health insurance coverage over the next decade. Apparently that question did’t sit so well with Gianforte, whose lead has been steadily shrinking over the past several weeks, in part because he refuses to state publicly where he stands on health care reform. [Behind closed doors, for what it’s worth, he’s praised the Trump plan.]

The following coverage of the assault comes from the Guardian.

…“He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said by phone from the back of an ambulance. “This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

Jacobs subsequently reported the incident to the police. The Gallatin County sheriff’s office is investigating the incident.

A statement by campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon blamed Jacobs for the incident, saying that he “entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions”.

“Jacobs was asked to leave,” the statement reads. “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.”…

That version of events, of course, doesn’t jive at all with the audio, or the firsthand accounts of the Fox News crew that witnessed the attack, saying that Gianforte not only bodyslammed the reporter, but actually punched him in the face. But who cares about facts, right?

I don’t know that it’ll do much good right now, seeing as how it’s the election is tomorrow, but, if you’d like to join me, I’ll be making one final donation to folksinger Rob Quist, Gianforte’s Democratic opponent, right now.

Here’s hoping the good people of Montana see this incident for what it is and do the right thing tomorrow… If you have friends or family in Montana, now might be a good time to call them.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, it was just a matter of time before something like this happened under the rule of Trump, a man who, much like Hitler, ascended to power by demonizing the “lying press”, even going so far as to excuse Putin’s murder of journalists.

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  1. Chris Buhalis
    Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    A violent reaction to free speech, but he makes up for it by lying like a motherfucker.

  2. anonymous
    Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    As you brought up Trumpcare, here’s how Nate Silver boils it down.

    “AHCA is $874 billion in tax cuts and $119 billion in deficit reduction, financed by a net $993 billion reduction in spending on health care.”


  3. Talking Points Memo
    Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s robocall for a Montana special election warns that Dems will “decimate and dismantle all that we’ve done” http://bit.ly/2qh5Rmn

  4. David Axelrod‏ by proxy
    Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Don’t know much about MT special, but as a rule, confident candidates don’t bodyslam reporters on eve of election.

  5. Matt Roush
    Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    It will probably help him with the Macho-Asshole-American demographic. On the other hand, turnout of that demographic in Montana is probably already 100%, so it may not matter.

  6. M
    Posted May 24, 2017 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    For those of you wondering why Gianforte was allowed to leave, here’s something interesting from Politico’s Gabriel Debenedetti.

    “So! Turns out the sheriff, Brian Gootkin, actually gave Gianforte a donation of $250 in March, according to FEC filings.”


  7. M
    Posted May 24, 2017 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Also, a Fox News crew witnessed the whole thing and they back up the story as related by the Guardian’s reporter.

    The article can be found here:



    During that conversation, another man — who we now know is Ben Jacobs of The Guardian — walked into the room with a voice recorder, put it up to Gianforte’s face and began asking if him if he had a response to the newly released Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act. Gianforte told him he would get to him later. Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon.

    At that point, 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.

  8. Joe M.
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    He had about a 5 point polling lead and MT supposedly votes early, so there might not be enough votes left out there to make a difference.

    Yet another election where the Dem candidate will finish much better than they ‘should’, but not well enough to win.

  9. M
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I’ve heard it said that 2/3 of voters already voted in Montana. The good news is, those who haven’t voted yet, it seems, as those on the fence. It’ll definitely be close.

  10. Billings Gazette
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Gazette opinion: “We’re pulling our endorsement of Greg Gianforte”

    “We believe that you cannot love America…talk about the importance of a free press and then pummel a reporter.”


  11. Dan Freidus
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    If our system works, he’ll serve a sentence instead of a term.

  12. anonymous
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Scarborough: “You can draw a straight line” from Trump’s rhetoric to Montana candidate’s alleged assault of reporter http://hill.cm/ihL2fJL

  13. Kim
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Which Republicans have denounced this assault? Pence campaigned for him. Has he made a statement?

  14. M
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    If anyone is looking for another reason to dislike Gianforte, he’s a young earth creationist and fan of Ken Ham.


  15. M
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    And Paul Ryan, for what it’s worth, did finally say that Gianforte should apologize. Too little too late, though, in my opinion.


  16. Joe M.
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Body slammer wins.

  17. Anonymous
    Posted May 26, 2017 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Of course he does, and by 7 points.

  18. XXX
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Sheriff David Clarke’s Twitter account temporarily suspended for threats of violence against media http://hill.cm/GDrgVjt

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] I can’t help but think that we’re building toward something incredibly bad, what with Republican members of Congress hitting those reporters that they can’t hide from, and people on the right wearing shirts with slogans like “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some […]

  2. […] against our free and independent press. And it cannot be tolerated, especially at a time when Republican members of Congress are physically assaulting reporters, the head of the NRA is listing “media elites” as being among our “greatest domestic […]

  3. […] Ryan reporting an ever-growing number of death threats. I mean, we’re living in an age where Republican members of Congress are physically assaulting reporters without political consequence, and Trump supporters are wearing t-shirts emblazoned with phrases like, “Rope. Tree. […]

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