Thug in Congress

Wednesday evening, Greg Gianforte, Montana candidate for a vacant seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, took it upon himself to grab and body slam reporter Ben Jacobs from The Guardian. No cameras were rolling, but the reporter got an audio recording (above). Also witness to the incident was a Fox news team, and they corroborated Jacobs’ story.

The incident occurred at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters after Jacobs asked a question about the Republican health care bill.

Unfortunately almost three-fourths of Montana’s voters had already voted early via mail-in ballots, so we’ll never know what might have been. Gianforte won the election the next day.

The entire thing makes me wonder how Gianforte will deal with all the reporters in Washington. I shudder to think about this man — a man who thinks unwanted questions justify physical assault — walking the halls of Congress. More and more I wonder if this is what our society is coming to.

Jacobs filed a report with the police and Gianforte was charged with assault, but it doesn’t change what happened. Maybe I’m the exception, but I was taught you never put your hands on someone else without their permission. Not ever.

The incident is also a reminder that no matter how convenient mail-in ballots are, if you vote early, there’s time for something unanticipated to happen. The possibility crosses my mind every time I mail in a ballot. But a card laid is a card played, as a number of Montana voters discovered when they inquired about it.

It was an ugly story, providing a lot of food for thought.

And it wasn’t even in Washington.

 



Categories: Politics

29 replies

  1. I even wonder if he will do the same thing to fellow members of congress?? Sad times.

  2. Absolutely no excuse for that.

  3. The fact that he won says a lot about the people in Montana. But it’s not just Montana. I live in an area that is very red. The big cities are probably not as much, as they are more cosmopolitan with better jobs meaning higher education. I find the “red” areas are also poorer, rural but sometimes landowners of large tracts of land, racist and more religiously “right”…..good olé boys

    • He was ahead in the polls before this happened, and it was too late for early voters to change their votes. I hate to think any district, red or blue, would vote for someone like this, but I’ve begun to think it’s impossible to underestimate what people will do.

  4. The media seems to be championing candidates inversely related to their elect ability.

  5. This story’s been driving me nuts, especially because so many in the GOP are laughing it off … no matter who did it, it was repugnant. It both amuses and angers me that some of the same people who refused to believe the uncut video of Trump mocking a disabled reporter are refusing to believe the reporter was attacked because there’s no video (because audio and reliable witnesses aren’t enough if you’re hyperpartisan). Sad that this is what we’ve come to …

  6. A great addition to the Oval Office team by the sound of it! POTUS will surely find a place for him in his inner circle.

    When I was following this story in the NYT, I was wondering where are the safeguards in the electoral system to combat an event such as this, and sadly there are none.

    Surely criminal assault, should be the charge, and a jail sentence, the penalty, and disbarment from Congress, and any other Public Office, for physical attacks on those going about their jobs, by those seeking election, and those already elected!

    • The members of Congress are assumed to be ladies and gentlemen. I don’t know what kind of protection they get other than the Capitol guards, who probably focus more on terrorists than on the people they are protecting. But yes, Gianforte was charged with asssault.

      This incident happend in Montana, and I doubt anyone thought to protect a reporter from the candidate.

  7. This is why they’re called Rethuglicans.

  8. Gianforte was charged with “misdemeanor assault.” I think it should have been felony assault and battery. He grabbed the reporter by the neck, slammed him down and broke his glasses. Consider this is from criminal.findlaw.com :

    The definitions for assault vary from state-to-state, but assault is often defined as an attempt to injure to someone else, and in some circumstances can include threats or threatening behavior against others. One common definition would be an intentional attempt, using violence or force, to injure or harm another person. Another straightforward way that assault is sometimes defined is as an attempted battery. Indeed, generally the main distinction between an assault and a battery is that no contact is necessary for an assault, whereas an offensive or illegal contact must occur for a battery.

    Prosecutorial discretion in Montana is clearly on the GOP side, just one more notch up in our bipolar politics.

    • Sounds to me like it was assault and battery, since Jacobs was actually grabbed, thrown to the floor, and punched. Plenty of offensive contact. If I were Jacobs, I’d be suing. And I’d like to think the House would refuse to seat him until the entire matter is settled.

      However, given the way things are today, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gianforte gets, at most, a slap on the wrist. And the matter will be forgotten. Or maybe even cheered by some of the people in Congress, who will undoubtedly welcome him as one of their own.

  9. P.S. Even misdemeanor assault can be punished with a year in prison. Who wants to bet that Gianforte will serve any time at all?

  10. We have got to stop worshiping rich men. The unspoken consensus is that they can do whatever they want.

  11. Beyond the obvious, what bothers me most about this incident is how quickly the story’s been dropped. A more than ominous indication re what has become acceptable in our government and country.

“The opinions of others should not deter you from being yourself..” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

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