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.