Candidate Is an Anti-Gay Far Right Wing Christian Extremist, Told Reporter 'Get the Hell Out of Here'
Greg Gianforte, the Republican Party's candidate to fill the House seat of Ryan Zinke, who President Donald Trump nominated to be Secretary of the Interior, just canceled an event after reportedly physically assaulting a reporter.
Ben Jacobs, a well-known political reporter for The Guardian, posted to Twitter that Greg Gianforte (photo) "body slammed" him and broke his glasses.
Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) May 24, 2017
Several other reporters observed the attack. Here's the audio:
“This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics,” Jacobs writes at The Guardian.
This is the transcript per The Guardian:
“I’m sick and tired of you guys,” Gianforte said. “The last guy who came here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?”
“Yes! You just broke my glasses,” Jacobs replied.
“The last guy did the same damn thing,” Gianforte said.
“You just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” Jacob said.
“Get the hell out of here,” Gianforte yelled.
Buzzfeed News' Alexis Levinson on Twitter posted a lengthy explanation.
"All of a sudden I heard a giant crash and saw Ben's feet fly in the air as he hit the floor," she reported, and posted this photo:
This is the scene outside - pic.twitter.com/xAin0jkhFo— Alexis Levinson (@alexis_levinson) May 24, 2017
She also tweeted, "Gianforte is now in a car with aides driving away." It's unclear why he was not arrested.
MSNBC's Chris Hayes interviewed her live from Bozeman, Montana.
As it turns out, Greg Gianforte is very well-known in Montana. He ran for the Republican nomination for governor, but lost.
But Gianforte is known for something else. He is a young-earth creationist, opposes anti-discriminaion ordinances that protect LGBT people, and has donated money to the very anti-gay Focus on the Family.
Buzzfeed's Dominic Holden last year reported Gianforte "personally lobbied against an LGBT rights bill, and tax documents show his foundation has given more than $1.1 million to leading organizations that oppose LGBT rights."
Holden added, "records show a man who has a long history of using religious arguments to push an extreme social agenda."
“Homosexual advocates try to argue that businesses are leery of locating in towns that aren’t friendly to homosexuals. I believe the opposite is truer," he wrote in a Jan. 23 email to the commissioners and mayor.
Gianforte continued: "I would argue that Christian businesses will carefully evaluate where they would be subject to an ordinance like this before locating. To include even locating just outside city limits to avoid having to compromise their religious beliefs.”
He warned of other consequences, too, saying that banning transgender discrimination would let men to sexually prey on girls in bathrooms — a common argument from anti-LGBT activists.
Mike Pence went to Montana to campaign for Gianforte:
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