What else can really be said about the stunning news of Republican Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte allegedly body-slamming a reporter, the Guardian’s Ben Jacobs, today in Bozeman? The audio, which you can listen to here, doesn’t sound good for Gianforte.
After an hour or so, Gianforte’s press secretary, Shane Scanlon, offered the following statement:
“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,” Scanlon said. “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 a Fox News team, though, the Gianforte statement is hogwash, and the Republican nominee actually choke-slammed and then punched Jacobs:
At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I 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!”
The report continues:
To be clear, 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.
You can read the whole thing here.
Again, this first-hand report is not from Buzzfeed, the New York Times, or the HuffPo — it’s from Fox News.
While this likely happened too late to change the election’s outcome, it will be ironic if the outcome does change — after the state GOP blocked a mail-only ballot that would have all but ensured no impact for exactly this type of situation.