(Bozeman, MT — May 26, 2017) – Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte (R-MT), 56, won the state’s special election for membership in the House of Representatives yesterday, beating back challenger Rob Quist (D-MT).
But it wasn’t the drubbing Republicans had hoped for.
The special election was called to replace Montana’s lone House member, Ryan Zinke (R-MT), who is now Secretary of the Interior.
Just 24 hours before yesterday’s voting began, Gianforte assaulted Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian, body-slamming him to the ground because Jacobs had the unmitigated gall to ask Gianforte about the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) scoring of the American Health Care Act of 2017, aka Tremendouscare.
Gianforte had every right to be angry about the CBO’s scoring because it showed that 23,000,000 Americans would lose their health care if the law was enacted.
But that’s not what he was angry about.
“Gianforte has some serious anger-management issues, especially when it comes to the press,” said a political scientist, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He once singled out a reporter in a room to point out that he was outnumbered. And he once made a joke about choking a journalist.
“Given the attitude of the Trumpist Brownshirts following Donald Trump’s (R-NY) lead in attacking the press, Gianforte fits right in.”
Following the attack, Gianforte spokesman Shane Scanlon attempted to emulate Press Secretary of the Week Sean Spicer and blame the altercation on Jacobs. But an audio recording of the event contradicted everything Scanlon said.
In his victory speech in front of some of the state’s Bozites, Gianforte admitted his guilt and “apologized” for his actions:
- “I shouldn’t have treated that reporter that way.”
“I think we all know what Gianforte was really saying,” said a political strategist, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He was saying, ‘I shouldn’t have treated that reporter that way. It was wrong to body-slam him. I should have taken out my hunting knife and disemboweled him. On live television.'”
The apology won’t nullify the charges of assault leveled against him. If convicted, he could face up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.
“Won’t it be difficult for Montana Hitler to legislate from a jail cell?” asked a Montanan opposed to Gianforte, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The attack led three major Montanan newspapers – The Billings Gazette, The Helena Record, and The Missoulan – to withdraw their endorsements of Gianforte.
“In the end, it didn’t matter,” said a Quist supporter, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Sad!”
Twitter users continued to express their outrage at Gianforte by using a hashtag created for those interested in returning the favor, freely advocating the body-slamming of the COTUS candidate: #BodySlamGregGianforte .
And thanks to the vote’s results, there are now “Boycott Montana” movements underway.
“Maybe Montana should change its nickname from ‘The Treasure State’ to ‘The State Where We’ll Beat the Living Shit Out of You’ to better reflect its values,” suggested a member of the Resistance, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Gianforte’s situation reminds some of another Congressional Republican who assaulted a member of the press, showing that Republicans learn nothing from history.
On January 28, 2014, following the State of the Union address, Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY) decided to attack a reporter who had the nerve to ask him about an ongoing investigation into Grimm’s alleged campaign finance abuses. While he didn’t physically assault Michael Scotto, a reporter for NY1, he did threaten to throw the reporter from a Capitol balcony:
- “Let me be clear to you. If you ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off this [expletive] balcony … No. No. You’re not man enough. You’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
Eleven months later, Grimm was forced to resign from Congress – not because of Scottogate, but because of his being charged with 20 counts of misconduct related to felony tax fraud. His resignation took effect on January 5, 2015.
“Gianforte took things one step further,” said a historian, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He didn’t just threaten physical violence – he performed physical violence.
“And it just goes to show you how much things have changed in just two years. In 2014 or 2015, Gianforte would have been gone. In 2017, the GOP will welcome him with open arms – and hoping that he doesn’t beat the crap out of them.”