2018 Election Featured Greg Gianforte House 2018 Kathleen Williams Montana Politics The Media US Politics

Montanans have a right to know

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Reporters, former and current employees, neighbors, friends, family, confidants, even casual encounters of Congressman Greg Gianforte have an obligation to Montanans to report any incident or perceived case of Gianforte assaulting and/or using physically or verbally assaulting behavior against them now or in the past. Montanans have a right to know.

Since his first conviction of assault where congressional candidate Gianforte responded to a question regarding healthcare – one of the most critical issues facing Montana families – by committing assault against reporter Ben Jacobs, choking and body-slamming him to the ground, another audio recording has surfaced online of Gianforte resorting to similar aggressive and intimidating behavior during an editorial board meeting with Missoulian reporters and executives.

During the incident, Gianforte can be heard slamming the table and, from the audio, is heard conducting himself in a physically intimidating nature by increasingly raising his voice and aggressively asserting himself over questions regarding policy facing Congress and our nation.

The audio is eerily similar to the audio of him committing assault during the 2017 campaign trail in which Gianforte first becomes more verbally combative and aggressive before resorting to physical violence against another person for asking him a question. He was convicted in Gallatin County but not before embellishing a story and trying to act as though he was above the law.

In the interview, he aggressively asserts to the reporters, especially the female reporters leading the questioning, that they need to ‘follow the logic’ to understand his position. Eventually, one reporter can be heard leaving the room, presumably to de-escalate the situation only to have Gianforte fire back when she re-enters. Gianforte is eventually successful in killing the line of questioning due to his aggressive behavior. Not the way we conduct ourselves as Montanans, and surely not the way we expect our elected officials to conduct themselves to anyone – plain and simple.

While many of us may never have the chance to interact with Congressman Gianforte himself, as he has yet to conduct an official in-person town hall meeting with Montanans in Montana and rarely interacts with his constituents or reporters outside of controlled and managed settings, those that have had experiences with him since moving from New Jersey and becoming Montana’s lone Congressman, you have a responsibility.

So we will say it again: Reporters, former and current employees, neighbors, friends, family, confidants, even casual encounters of Congressman Greg Gianforte have an obligation to Montanans to report any incident or perceived case of Gianforte assaulting and/or using physically or verbally assaulting behavior against them now or in the past. Montanans have a right to know because even once is troubling enough to be un-elected.

A longer version of the audio:

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