Look, this is shocking news. Millionaires usually pay their bodyguards to rough up the press instead of doing it themselves, and it’s rare that a candidate for public office makes international news for assaulting a reporter the night before an election.
First, take a listen to Greg Gianforte, candidate for Congress and a man who uses his Christian values as a cudgel against LGBTQ kids, assaulting a reporter for having the temerity to ask him a question.
This is clearly someone who lacks the temperament to run for any office.
But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Gianforte behaved this way. Anyone who has followed Montana politics for the past few years is familiar with his anger when asked questions by the press. Back in October, we had a guest post from Shahid Haque-Hausrath discussing how Gianforte lost his temper when he was interviewed by the Missoulian Editorial Board. He wrote:
When pressed again for his list, and asked whether or not Iran was on that list, Gianforte grew irritated and said “I’m not playing this game with you.” Apparently he even was even “pounding the table.”
Unable to answer even the most basic questions about how he would implement his vague policy, Gianforte lost his temper with the Missoulian editorial board and said “I don’t understand why you want terrorists in this state . . . You’re totally out of touch with Montanans.”
Gianforte’s policies would affect real people. But when asked to explain in any meaningful way who he would block from Montana, Gianforte viewed the question as “playing games” and “wanting terrorists in the state.” This level of intolerance is staggering.
You can hear the audio on that post still, too.
Back in April, Gianforte joked with a supporter about wringing the neck of a reporter:
And, during questions at the end of his talk, Gianforte took one from a man who said: “Our biggest enemy is the news media. How can we rein in the news media?”
The man then looked the Ravalli Republic reporter sitting next to him and raised his hands as if he would like to wring his neck.
Gianforte smiled and pointed at the reporter.
“We have someone right here,” the candidate said. “It seems like there is more of us than there is of him. I don’t have a simple solution for you. I will say that doing town hall meetings and getting out and visiting with people is very important.”
Gianforte is a menace. He supports the worst forms of discrimination, sanctions white nationalists, runs horrifically negative campaigns, and like all bullies, cannot stand to be questioned. You can hear his anger rise every time a reporter asks a hard question or follows up when he refuses to answer.
The real surprise might not even be that he assaulted a reporter tonight, but that this is the first time it’s happened.