Guardian reporter allegedly body slammed by GOP congressional candidate speaks out

May 26, 2017, 09:56

Gianforte made headlines Wednesday after he allegedly "body-slammed" Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the Guardian who asked him about the Republican congressional health-care bill. Instead Ryan said, "I'm gonna let the people of Montana decide who they want as their representative".

Republicans have held the state's lone congressional seat for two decades.

Yet other polls showed the race tightening, and Gianforte himself admitted, "This race is closer than it should be". He blames the reporter for using "aggressive tactics".

But several Republican voters were willing to withhold judgment or were flat-out skeptical of what reportedly unfolded.

Gianforte later apologized for the comment, but the threat was clear.

"Yeah, I think he should apologize", U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan told a regular news briefing. "Nowhere does it say, 'Well, he was a good and faithful servant, so he went to the beach.' It doesn't say that anywhere". Last night the candidate was cited for misdemeanor assault.

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According to the audio tape, Jacobs' encounter with Gianforte turned violent when he tried to ask the candidate if he supported a Republican healthcare overhaul bill after the Congressional Budget Office found the measure would cause 23 million Americans to lose their medical insurance coverage by 2026.

"He's on top of me". Gianforte's response, captured on audio, said it all: "I'm sick and exhausted of you guys!"

Acuna, her field producer and photographer then "watched in disbelief as Gianforte began punching the reporter, she wrote on the Fox News website".

The Gallatin County Sheriffs Office is now investigating allegations of an assault involving Greg Gianforte. He apologized - not to Jacobs, but to the journalists from Fox News.

That bald-faced lie issued by the Gianforte campaign is clearly contradicted by the audio and eyewitness accounts. All donations going forward will be donated to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the campaign's organizer said.

Jacobs dismissed that version of events.

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The Guardian's United States editor Lee Glendinning said in a statement: "The Guardian is deeply appalled by how our reporter, Ben Jacobs, was treated in the course of doing his job as a journalist while reporting on the Montana special election". Quist, a folk singer, has come within striking distance thanks to an outpouring of money and energy from Democrats desperate to score a victory against Trump. But many voters in Montana vote early or absentee, so the result of this election may have been largely decided before the events of Wednesday night.

Quist has so far said little about his opponent's physical altercation.

"I mean, that story - it's possible it's not even true", she told Montana Public Radio.

The incident on Wednesday roiled a tightening race in the Republican-leaning state, where a Democratic political novice aims to pull off a victory in a contest seen as a bellwether for next year's US congressional elections. Jacobs then said he wanted the police called and went to leave.

I think it is doubtful that Montana voters would elect Gianforte if everyone voted today, when the special election is actually taking place. The last guy did the same thing. "Get the hell out of here!" the man yells.

Thing is, Gianforte's chances of prevailing over Democratic challenger Rob Quist remain high due to a number of factors in his favor. The president has not done so, but his son, Donald Trump Jr., has.

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