Paul Ryan signals he would still seat GOP candidate charged with assault

President Trump and Vice President Pence both stayed silent Thursday in the wake of a misdemeanor assault citation being filed against the Republican candidate in Montana's special congressional election - a hopeful whom Trump and Pence have urged voters to support.

Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for Montana's congressional seat, was charged with misdemeanor assault Wednesday night he allegedly grabbed a reporter by the neck and slammed him to the ground.

Ryan told reporters at a press conference that "physical altercations" of any kind "are wrong and that shouldn't have happened". "So that is wrong and should not have happened".

The incident on Wednesday prompted a local newspaper to withdraw its endorsement and House Speaker Paul Ryan urged him to apologize for it.

Gianforte, who has tried to align himself with Trump, defended himself as the criminal charge was announced Wednesday, saying the reporter was being aggressive and grabbed him by the wrist in their exchange at his campaign office.

Gianforte, an engineer and businessman, is running against Democratic candidate Rob Quist for the state's lone congressional seat, which was vacated by Republican Ryan Zinke upon his appointment to United States Secretary of the Interior.

Gianforte reportedly shouted "I'm sick and exhausted of this!" and "get the hell out of here" as her began his attack, according to Fox.

"Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses", Jacobs tweeted before news of the alleged attack quickly spread on social media. Jacobs is heard on the recording doing his job - asking a candidate for political office a fair question.

Ben Jacobs says he was just trying to ask a simple question.

Numerous journalists highlighted the striking difference between Gianforte's campaign's statement and the version of events from Fox News correspondent Alicia Acuna, who witnessed the incident.

The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office would only confirm that they are investigating a report of an assault involving Gianforte and will release more information later.

She added that Gianforte then began to punch Jacobs. But if he wins, Gianforte won't be able to slam down everyone who asks his opinion about unpopular legislation.

Governor Steve Bullock released the following statement: "It is unsettling on many levels that Greg Gianforte physically assaulted a journalist and then lied, refusing to take responsibility for his actions".

"We are also sick and exhausted a of Gianforte's incessant attacks on the free press", the Helena Independent Record wrote. But prospects that the altercation could tip the race to the Democrat, Rob Quist, were complicated by Montana's early-voting tradition: Over half the estimated total ballots in the contest had been returned by Wednesday.

  • Zachary Reyes