This post was updated to reflect an eyewitness report from Fox News.
So 2017 has reached a new low.
On the eve of Montana’s special election, Guardian political reporter Ben Jacobs reported that Republican candidate Greg Gianforte body-slammed him at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters in Bozeman.
Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) May 24, 2017
Audio of the incident was recorded, which we’ve embedded above. On it, Gianforte can be heard screaming at Jacobs to “get the hell out of here” after a scuffle. “You just body-slammed me,” Jacobs then says. Jacobs reported the incident to the police, who are investigating the alleged assault, and he sought medical attention.
Later in the night, a Fox News reporter who witnessed the incident said “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him” and then “began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of ‘I’m sick and tired of this!'”
Last month, Jacobs broke a story about Gianforte’s ties to U.S.-sanctioned Russian companies.
Gianforte’s spokesperson released a statement shortly after the news broke, effectively denying Jacobs’ account. “It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ,” it read.
President Trump and Vice President Pence have both recorded robocalls endorsing Gianforte and Donald Trump Jr. has joined him on the campaign trail.
Gianforte’s Wikipedia page offers some interesting details about his beliefs on retirement, politics, religion and evolution. Changes to his page have been coming in fast and already include the alleged assault on Jacobs.
“There’s nothing in the Bible that talks about retirement. And yet it’s been an accepted concept in our culture today,” Gianforte, who made millions in the software business, said while speaking at the Montana Bible College. “Nowhere does it say, ‘Well, he was a good and faithful servant, so he went to the beach.'”
Gianforte is hoping to fill the congressional seat vacated by Ryan Zinke, who was tapped as U.S. Secretary of the Interior earlier this year. His opponent, Democrat and political newcomer Rob Quist, has of late closed the gap between himself and the frontrunner, tightening a race that should be a lock for Republicans. Polls close at 8 p.m. local time.