Late Wednesday, Montana Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte reportedly had enough of questions being asked by a reporter from The Guardian, so he body-slammed him to the ground because that’s how Republicans roll.
According to reports, the alleged assault happened at Gianforte’s headquarters in Bozeman. Fox News’ Alicia Acuna and her crew were preparing a story to air on Special Report With Bret Baier when reporter Ben Jacobs allegedly put a tape recorder in Gianforte’s face and began asking questions.
“Gianforte told him he would get back to him later. Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon,” Acuna, who witnessed the incident, wrote.
“At that point,” she wrote, “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.”
Acuna wrote that she and her crew “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!’”
Acuna said that Jacobs “scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken.” He asked the Fox reporter and crew for their names, but “in shock, we did not answer.”
“To be clear,” she wrote, “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 after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies.”
Of course, Gianforte’s campaign claims that Jacobs was the aggressor. Shane Scanlon, spokesman for the Gianforte campaign, issued the following statement, viewed by the Billings-Gazette, regarding the incident:
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, 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.
According to the Washington Post, Gianforte was later cited for misdemeanor assault. The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office noted that the nature of Jacobs’ reported injuries did not meet the state’s statutory definition of felony assault.