The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs said Thursday night that Montana Republican Rep.-elect Greg Gianforte's initial response to the allegation that he "body-slammed" Jacobs was "worse than the assault."
“I’m still sort of flabbergasted, not just by the assault, but by the statement that was put out last night, which was in some ways far worse," Jacobs said during an interview with CNN's Don Lemon. "I can heal up. It's not the end of the world. But as someone who is a journalist, who relies on my integrity and reputation for being trustworthy, that type of attack was in some ways beyond the pale."
Gianforte allegedly "body-slammed" Jacobs after being asked about the Congressional Budget Office's scoring of the House Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin, who admitted that he donated to Gianforte's congressional campaign, announced Wednesday that Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault, according to The Associated Press.
Gianforte's campaign released a statement following the incident, essentially blaming the altercation on Jacobs, whom the campaign labeled a "liberal journalist":
Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian's Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg's face, and began asking badgering questions. Jacobs was asked to leave. 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.
Despite the charges, Gianforte won just over 50 percent of the vote in the Montana special congressional election to replace Ryan Zinke, whom President Donald Trump tapped to head the Interior Department.
In his victory speech, Gianforte thanked supporters — and addressed the elephant in the room.
Gianforte apologized for the altercation with Jacobs and to those who witnessed it.
"When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it. That’s the Montana way. Last night, I made a mistake, and I took an action that I can’t take back. I’m not proud of what happened. I should not have responded in the way that I did, and for that I’m sorry," Gianforte said.
"I should not have treated that reporter that way, and for that I’m sorry, Mr. Ben Jacobs. I also want to apologize [to] the Fox News team that was there, and I’m sorry to each one of you that we had to go through this," Gianforte said. "That’s not the person I am, and it’s not the way I’ll lead in this state."
(H/T: Daily Caller)