Reporter: GOP Congressional Candidate In Montana ‘Body Slammed Me’

/// Photo eds,Here is a photo I took today for a story moving now slugged Montana Special Election. This will be the last one of the night. Caption is below.Thanks,Matt, HLN26 - Greg Gianforte, right, receives congratulations from a supporter on Monday, March 06, 2017, in Helena, Montana, after winning the Republican nomination for Montana's special election for U.S. House. The technology entrepreneur will face Democratic nominee Rob Quist in the May 25 election (AP Photo/Matt Volz)
Matt Volz/AP

Reporter Ben Jacobs said a candidate for Congress in Montana “body slammed” him during an interview Wednesday, a day before a special election in the state.

The incident apparently occurred after Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian, asked GOP candidate Greg Gianforte about the Congressional Budget Office’s newly released appraisal of House Republicans’ health care bill.

A rustling noise could be heard on an audio recording of the incident, after which Gianforte apparently told Jacobs, “I’m a sick and tired of you guys.” He added: “Get the hell out of here.”

“You just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” Jacobs said, sounding stunned.

“He took me to the ground,” Jacobs told The Guardian, which reported that he was speaking from the back of an ambulance. “This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

The paper reported that Jacobs alerted the authorities to the incident. The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office said it was “currently investigating allegations of an assault,” according to Politico.

The Gianforte campaign said Jacobs asked “badgering questions” and interrupted a separate interview.

“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,” Gianforte spokesman Shane Scanlon said in a statement, according to Politico.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have thrown their support behind Gianforte, recording robocalls for the GOP candidate.

A reporter for BuzzFeed who was in the vicinity also reported what she observed from the scene:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He's a native of Minnesota. Reach him at taintor@talkingpointsmemo.com.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK