A reporter for The Guardian claims Greg Gianforte, the GOP congressional candidate in“body slammed” him so hard at a meet-and-greet in Bozeman, Montana, Wednesday that the candidate broke his glasses.
Guardian political reporter Ben Jacobs tweeted about the incident, which took place on the eve of Montana’s special election to replace congressman-turned Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Montana has only one U.S. representative.
Audio of the alteracation reveals Jacobs asking a question about health care and the recently released Congressional Budget Office score, which Gianforte refuses to answer, saying, “Speak with Shane, please,” likely a reference to his spokesperson, Shane Scanlon. Next, the sound is muffled by the ensuing altercation.
“I’m sick and tired of you guys!” a voice, seemingly belonging to Gianforte, yells. “The last guy that came here, you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here! Get the hell out of here!”
Jacobs, who was treated by an ambulance, has filed a police report.
Other reporters not in the room but on the scene, such as Buzzfeed’s Alexis Levinson, also heard Gianforte’s apparent outburst.
Gianforte left without speaking to reporters.
The Gianforte campaign released this statement on the incident:
“Tonight, as Greg (Gianforte) 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,” Scanlon said in a statement. “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.”
Gianforte’s opponent is Democrat Rob Quist.