Category: Greg Gianforte

The GOP inherits what Trump has wrought

From The Washington Post — Written by Karen Tumulty and Robert Costa — Image courtesy of Getty

The angry forces that propelled President Trump’s rise are beginning to frame and define the rest of the Republican Party.

When GOP House candidate Greg Gianforte assaulted a reporter who had attempted to ask him a question Wednesday night in Montana, many saw not an isolated outburst by an individual, but the obvious, violent result of Trump’s charge that journalists are “the enemy of the people.” Nonetheless, Gianforte won Thursday’s special election to fill a safe Republican seat.

“Respectfully, I’d submit that the president has unearthed some demons,” Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) said. “I’ve talked to a number of people about it back home. They say, ‘Well, look, if the president can say whatever, why can’t I say whatever?’ He’s given them license.”

Trump — and specifically, his character and his conduct — now thoroughly dominate the national political conversation.

Traditional policy arguments over whether entitlement programs should be overhauled, or taxes cut, are regularly upstaged by a new burst of pyrotechnics.

Few Republicans expect party leaders to do anything to lessen the toxicity.

Charlie Sykes, a conservative former talk-show host in Wisconsin and author of the forthcoming “How the Right Lost Its Mind,” said “every time something like Montana happens, Republicans adjust their standards and put an emphasis on team loyalty. They normalize and accept previously unacceptable behavior.”

Greg Gianforte, Montana G.O.P. candidate, is charged in attack on reporter

From The New York Times — Written by Jonathan Martin — Image courtesy of Getty

The Republican candidate in a hotly contested special House election in Montana was charged with assaulting a journalist on Wednesday at what was to be a final rally in Bozeman on the eve of the vote. The attack brought police officers to the event and sent the reporter to the hospital for X-rays.

In a statement late Wednesday, the office of the Gallatin County sheriff, Brian Gootkin, said there was enough evidence to charge the candidate, Greg Gianforte, with misdemeanor assault. Mr. Gianforte, the Republican candidate for the state’s lone House seat, is scheduled to appear in court before June 7.

Three of the state’s largest newspapers, The Billings Gazette, The Missoulian and The Helena Independent Record, quickly rescinded their endorsements of Mr. Gianforte. But prospects that the altercation could tip the race to the Democrat, Rob Quist, were complicated by Montana’s early-voting tradition: Over half the estimated total ballots in the contest had been returned by Wednesday.

Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian, said the episode occurred during an interview at Mr. Gianforte’s campaign headquarters. Mr. Jacobs said Mr. Gianforte “body-slammed” him when pressed on a question about the Republicans’ health care bill.

Members of a Fox News television crew witnessed the encounter, and in a firsthand account posted on the network’s website, one of the Fox journalists described Mr. Gianforte as “punching the reporter.”

An article in The Week posits that this altercation may make Gianforte more appealing to some voters in Montana.

As “nuts” as it was, it’s anyone’s guess how the altercation between Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte and Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs will affect Thursday’s special election in Montana, University of Montana political science professor Robert Saldin said Wednesday night.

Several voters have already cast their ballots, Saldin told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and some anti-media Republicans might be sympathetic to Gianforte, who has used strong rhetoric against journalists in previous campaign speeches.

A trio of Fox News employees is backing up journalist Ben Jacobs’ account of what happened Wednesday evening between him and Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for Montana’s vacant U.S. House seat.

Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna was in the room when the altercation took place, along with field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey. In a firsthand account posted to the Fox News website, Acuna wrote that Jacobs, whose name she didn’t know at the time, walked into the room with a voice recorder and “put it up to Gianforte’s face and began asking him if he had a response to the newly released Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act. Gianforte told him he would get to him later. Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon.”

Then, Gianforte “grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him,” Acuna wrote. She said the Fox News crew “watched in disbelief” as Gianforte then “began punching the man, as he moved on top of the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of ‘I’m sick and tired of this!'” Acuna said “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.”