On Wednesday, May 24th Greg Gianoforte violently assaulted Guardian Reporter Ben Jacobs and by the end of the night on Thursday, May 25th he was elected in the Montana Special Election as our next Congressman, filling Ryan Zinke’s position following his appointment as Secretary of the Interior. While the assault in and of itself is appalling and disturbing – it’s just one of many concerning actions of Mr. Gianforte.
Greg Gianforte and his wife actively opposed the Bozeman Non-Discrimination Ordinance through public testimony as well as private emails to the Bozeman City Commission. They are also significant donors to the well known and controversial Montana Family Foundation who work to fight legal protections for the LGBTQ community, amongst other social issues. Gianforte has also donated to national groups who continue to support the archaic and dangerous practice of conversion therapy – the process of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Check out the National Center for Lesbian Rights campaign #BornPerfect for more information on efforts to ban conversion therapy nationwide.
Gianforte also donates significant amounts of money to Crisis Pregnancy Centers across Montana under the guise of supporting women’s health. In reality they provide misinformation and pressure women and families already in vulnerable situations with one option – to bring a pregnancy to term. They often separate couples when they enter a facility, tell individuals that abortions cause a litany of problems such as breast cancer, psychological harm and/or damage the female reproductive system. All have been proven false. You can see a full report here.
Recently there was an article in the Missoulian when Gianforte donated to a suspected white nationalist in 2016 running for the Montana State Legislature from Columbia Falls. He stated that he was donating to all of the Republican candidates and was quoted as saying, “I was unaware of some of his views and we supported him because we supported all (Republican) candidates in the last election,” Now, as someone with far less means, but much interest in making a difference in my community in progressive politics and social justice work – I do my research. I donate to causes that are close to my heart and close to my values. However, I do my research. I like to make sure I’m not donating to racist ideologues.
There are a lot of reasons why Greg Gianforte is dangerous for Montana, and Wednesday’s incident with Ben Jacobs showed many of us who he truly is. An angry, volatile human being who will only further diminish Montana values in D.C. Those of us most impacted already have much to fear, and many more will soon learn that his radical views on healthcare, social issues and public education will be disproportionately affected in the months to come. We can only hope his term in Congress is as short-lived as this last campaign.