“It was surreal,” says the Guardian reporter allegedly assaulted by Montana GOP candidate Greg Gianforte https://t.co/edRgYFXbQn
— New Day (@NewDay) May 25, 2017
A day after being body slammed while doing his job, Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs spoke on Thursday to CNN’s New Day to provide a closer look into why he believes Republican nominee Greg Gianforte was so quick to (allegedly) use physical force against him. Speaking to host Chris Cuomo, Jacobs attempted to sort out the details of the bizarre and frightening encounter.
Jacobs clears up any notion (as suggested by Gianforte’s campaign) that he had barged into a private setting, saying the room Gianforte was in was in no way off-limits. He emphasized that other reporters were also in the room, and Jacobs scoffs at any claim that he initiated the physical confrontation by sticking his voice recorder in Gianforte’s face or grabbing his wrist. He insists that Gianforte’s spokesperson issued claims that aren’t based in reality:
“They got my name right. They got my employer right. But other than that, there was not a single factually correct element in there. That was totally false.” Jacobs said of the report that Gianforte was acting in self-defense.”
Towards the end of the interview, Cuomo asks Jacobs if he believes the reaction to his line of questioning by Greg Gianforte was the result of an atmosphere of filled with hostility towards the media, which has been perpetuated by President Trump, but Jacobs maintained that this was an “unusual” interaction. He went on to add that he wouldn’t necessarily chalk his incident with Gianforte up as anything but an isolated incident between a reporter and a single politician that blew a gasket:
“I’ve never that. I’ve had very supportive emails, tweets, and text messages from Republican politicians, Republican consultants, and Republican operatives that I’ve communicated with that I wouldn’t want to tar anybody or anything with this. This was one very unusual and surreal interaction, and having reported on enough folks this is the first, and hopefully last time I’ll ever get body slammed by a politician.”
Gianforte was charged early Thursday morning with misdemeanor assault by Montana police. Today, voters will have to pick between Gianforte and fellow House candidate Democrat Rob Quist. Paul Ryan has condemned Gianforte’s actions, but he’ll leave the final determination with the people of Montana.