On the eve of the special election in Montana, things just took a surreal turn for Republican candidate Greg Gianforte. The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs claims that Gianforte picked him up and body slammed him during a campaign event this evening, breaking his glasses in the process – and the police are now on the scene as a result.
This still unfolding story began when Ben Jacobs of The Guardian tweeting the following:
Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) May 24, 2017
Jacobs went on to post audio of the exchange, which includes Gianforte yelling at Jacobs, then a loud crash, followed by Jacobs accusing Gianforte of body slamming him, and Gianforte continuing to yell at him while not denying the accusation (link). Alexis Levinson, a reporter for BuzzFeed, was on the scene and was a partial eyewitness. Her recounting of the event in a series of tweets reads like this:
“This happened behind a half closed door, so I didn’t see it all, but here’s what it looked like from the outside – Ben walked into a room where a local tv crew was set up for an interview with Gianforte. All of a sudden I heard a giant crash and saw Ben’s feet fly in the air as he hit the floor. Heard very angry yelling (as did all the volunteers in the room) – sounded like Gianforte. I can’t quite remember the order but the next few things were someone slamming the door, Gianforte’s Spox walking into the room, Ben walked out holding his broken glasses in his hand and said ‘e just bodyslammed me.’ The aide came over and told him he had to leave. Ben left, Gianforte and his aide went into a room and closed the door. Stayed there for about ten minutes. Then they walked out and only the aide came back in.” (link). Levinson then posted a photo of a police car outside.
With voting in the Montana special election taking place tomorrow, it’s not immediately clear how this incident will impact the results – but this can only be seen as bad news for Greg Gianforte and the Republicans.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report