Ryan Calls On Gianforte to Apologize for Alleged Assault on Reporter
- Author: Leroy Wright May 26, 2017,
May 26, 2017, 13:00
On Wednesday, the Republican candidate in Montana's special congressional election, Greg Gianforte, was charged with misdemeanor assault after he allegedly body slammed a Guardian political reporter, Ben Jacobs.
As of mid-afternoon Thursday, almost 41 percent of registered voters in Lewis and Clark County had cast their ballots in the special election for Montana's lone U.S. House seat.
Gianforte apologized in his victory speech: "When you make a mistake you have to own up to it. last night I made a mistake, and I took an action that I can not take back". Steve Daines, also criticized Gianforte, but didn't agree that his actions should be disqualifying. He collected almost $3.2 million from individual donors across the U.S.
The race for a seat vacated when Trump named Ryan Zinke as secretary of the interior had grown closer in the last week, however, as Quist focused on criticism of the House healthcare bill.
Montana has just over 699,000 registered voters.
Robert O'Neill, the former Navy SEAL who claimed to have fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden, called the reporter who was "body-slammed" by a Republican House candidate in Montana a "snowflake". Reporters asked why Gianforte had not been detained, and the sheriff said his deputies "got busy with the witnesses and the victim", and Gianforte left.
Gianforte, a 56-year-old software entrepreneur from Bozeman, allegedly grabbed and punched a reporter Wednesday evening at a campaign event, as the reporter tried to question him over the GOP's national health-care bill.
"It is unsettling on many levels that Greg Gianforte physically assaulted a journalist and then lied, refusing to take responsibility for his action". In November, Trump won the state by 20 points and a Democrat hasn't won the congressional seat for two decades. A win in what was once thought a safe Republican district would spell trouble for Trump's agenda and for the GOP in midterm election ins 2018.
"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".
This sentiment was echoed by House Speaker Paul Ryan who also said "He should apologize".
Asked if assaulting a reporter is appropriate behavior, California Rep. Duncan Hunter said, "Of course not".
Even so, Gianforte lost to Bullock by less than 4 percentage points, and polls have showed him as the front-runner in the special election.
The congressional race in Montana pits two diametrically opposed candidates against one another.
In a statement, Shane Scanlon, a spokesman for Gianforte's campaign, alleged that Jacobs started the kerfuffle when he crashed an interview Gianforte was preparing to give to another outlet.
The entire incident can be heard on an audio recording published by the Guardian.
Jacobs told ABC's "Good Morning America" that he never touched Gianforte.
What's more, Gianforte assaulted Jacobs in front of three witnesses.
Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.
As a candidate, he has already had to apologize for his treatment of the press after an incident last month at a meeting of a Christian group where a man complained about reporters and said he wanted to "wring their necks".
Jacobs said Thursday of Gianforte's account that "the only thing that is factually correct ... is my name and place of employment".