GOP rep: Alleged Montana assault 'unacceptable,' but voters have spoken

May 30, 2017, 05:40

"But I'm just saying, history is on our side", Pelosi said.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said that his office's investigation found there was "probable cause to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault".

President Trump - himself a WWE Hall of Famer, and no stranger to wrestling maneuvers - praised body-slamming Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte's win. Three Montana news publications withdrew their endorsements, and even House Speaker Paul Ryan condemned Gianforte's actions.

Most of the Montana voters had already made their pick via early voting, with more than 250,000 vote-by-mail ballots being cast a day ahead of the election.

"Last night, I made a mistake", he said, to more laughter, "I took an action that I can't take back. I should not have responded in the way that I did, and for that I'm sorry", Gianforte said.

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Perhaps Gianforte viewed his violent attack as an asset to his campaign, rather than a scandal that would threaten his chances at the last minute.

Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs was covering an event in Bozeman and tweeted the encounter at about 7 p.m. ET.

The Montana special election was for the seat vacated when former GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke was named Interior Secretary by President Donald Trump. Witnesses of the altercation said Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck and threw him to the floor, where he continued to hit Jacobs.

But after he was declared the victor, Gianforte apologized for the attack.

"When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it", Gianforte said during his victory party.

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The race became the most expensive U.S. House contest in Montana history, with spending by the campaigns and outside groups topping $18 million, or twice as much as the old record set just previous year.

Vox Editor Ezra Klein went so far as to say that if Republicans "underperform as badly, they'll lose the House".

"That's his model, Donald Trump", she told reporters.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday suggested that Gianforte's behavior was somewhat influenced by rough tactics exhibited by some of President Donald Trump's campaign supporters during rallies previous year. In Montana, according to, someone convicted of misdemeanor assault can be fined up to $500, receive a country jail sentence up to six months, or both.

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