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Reaction to Rush Limbaugh's 'condemnation' of Gianforte was overwhelmingly negative

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh warns American CEOs from aligning with the Southern Poverty Law Center because they're "leftist freaks." (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Rush Limbaugh gave a tongue-in-cheek 'condemnation' of GOP candidate Greg Gianforte and his assault of a reporter while praising him and mocking his victim, but when his comments hit social media, they did not go over well.

Limbaugh referred to Gianforte as "studly and manly" on his radio show Thursday, while reserving epithets for his victim, Ben Jacobs of The Guardian, like "smug and arrogant."

“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,” Limbaugh said. “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," Limbaugh mocked, "I wonder how many people in Montana are now gonna vote for the guy, though?”

Jacobs tweeted Wednesday that the politician had "body-slammed" him while he was seeking a comment about the Obamacare replacement bill. Initially the Gianforte campaign blamed the reporter, saying he was being aggressive with the candidate, but eyewitnesses from a Fox News team disputed the account in their reporting.

Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault by a sheriff admitting he had donated to the candidate's campaign Thursday. Despite the controversy, the Republican won the special election for Montana's open U.S. House seat late Thursday night. Gianforte fills the seat formerly held by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

The reaction to Limbaugh's comments was overwhelmingly negative on social media as measured by the comments added to TheBlaze's coverage on Twitter.

CNN's Jim Schiutto responded, "I tell my boys the guys who call this kind of stuff 'studly and manly' are generally the exact opposite."

Trump critic and CNN contributor Tom Nichols said, "You knew this coming. It's disgusting, but you could set your watch by it."

Conservative talk radio host Steve Deace asked, "What is happening to the movement I've devoted most of my adult life to? I seriously might be in the wrong line of work."

Conservative commentator John Zeigler simply said, "That's it. I'm done..."

Former speechwriter for George H.W. Bush David Frum said, "The fake condemnation is a nice touch."

Gianforte's victory in Montana may not be necessarily attributable to his assault on a reporter — many of the ballots were collected by early voting before the altercation that occurred just the night before the polls opened.

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