Rush Limbaugh offered tepid condemnation for the "body-slamming" of The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs by a Montana GOP candidate, but kept referring to the "studly and manly" Gianforte, while mocking the "smug and arrogant" reporter. He spoke about the incident Thursday on his radio show.
"In Montana — ladies and gentlemen, I must do something," Limbaugh said. "I must join the chorus of people condemning what happened out there. This manly, obviously studly Republican candidate in Montana took the occasion to beat up a pajama-clad journalist, a Pajama Boy journalist out there."
"The story is he grabbed his neck and threw the guy to the ground because the journalist was being insolent and disrespectful and whiny and moany and accusatory," he explained. "And the manly, studly Republican simply didn’t realize that on the big stage you can’t do this kind of stuff and kicked the guy’s ass to the ground. This cannot be accepted. This must be condemned. I wonder how many people in Montana are now gonna vote for the guy, though?"
"And there’s a brave newspaper out there," he continued, "a brave newspaper withdrew its endorsement for this studly, manly, brutish Republican. His name is Gianforte, Greg Gianforte, and he didn’t like this reporter who’s indistinguishable from your average Millennial man today, virtually indistinguishable. He’s from the U.K. Guardian."
Limbaugh continued talking about the case and explained what he believed was malicious intent on the side of Ben Jacobs, the reporter.
"So the guy, this Ben Jacobs, is a classic Never Trumper, anti-Trumpist from the Drive-By Media," he said, "and I guarantee you is smug and arrogant and all these characteristics that tend to put people off, particularly when they’re in combination like arrogant smugness, or arrogant conceit, those two things just as a personal pet peeve of mine, just rub me the entirely wrong direction."
"So this guy’s already got it in for Trump, and he’s obviously got it in for Gianforte, who is said to be a Trump supporter," he concluded. "Trump won Montana by a healthy advantage. The Guardian reporter, Ben Jacobs, claimed that Gianforte body slammed him and broke his glasses at the event last night. Local authorities have brought misdemeanor assault charges against Gianforte. There is so far no direct video of the incident. Only audio has been produced publicly, which we aired last hour."
Audio captured the assault on Ben Jacobs, but the statement from the Gianforte campaign didn't quite match up with the recording. Later, a report from a Fox News team who witnessed the event firsthand appeared to support Jacobs' account that he did not provoke Gianforte before the attack.
Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault. The special election for Montana's seat for the U.S. House of Representatives is being held Thursday.