Greg Gianforte finally apologizes to the Guardian reporter he violently assaulted

Last month, a special election was held in Montana to fill their vacant Congressional seat. The race heated up in the last weeks before the election, with Republican Greg Gianforte’s comfortable lead diminishing daily. The night before the election, Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs – who had been on the ground in Montana for weeks, and who had already tried to get answers on Gianforte’s position on healthcare – approached Gianforte for a comment about the latest Trumpcare news. Instead of just saying “no comment” or whatever, Gianforte lost his f–king mind and body-slammed Jacobs to the ground. Jacobs glasses were broken and Jacobs recorded (audio-recorded) his own on-the-record assault, which he promptly released to The Guardian.

Well, long story short, Gianforte won the election, even though the sheriff did cite him for misdemeanor assault. Gianforte’s initial statement about the incident was awful too, basically victim-blaming Jacobs for being a “liberal journalist” who, you know, asked him a question. So now Gianforte is issuing a big public apology for the assault.

Greg Gianforte, the Montana Republican who assaulted a Guardian journalist on the eve of his election to the US House of Representatives, has issued a full and unequivocal apology to the reporter and agreed to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The congressman-elect apologized to the reporter, Ben Jacobs, in a letter received late on Wednesday as part of an agreement that settles any potential civil claims.

“My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful,” Gianforte wrote. “As both a candidate for office and a public official, I should be held to a high standard in my interactions with the press and the public. My treatment of you did not meet that standard.”

Gianforte said the $50,000 donation to the CPJ, an independent not-for-profit organization that promotes press freedom and that protects the rights of journalists worldwide, was made “in the hope that perhaps some good can come of these events”. He added: “I made a mistake and humbly ask for your forgiveness.”

Gianforte still faces criminal charges over the altercation. If found guilty, he could be fined up to $500 or face a jail sentence of up to six months. He was expected to appear in Gallatin County justice court this week but was granted an extension to 20 June, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

At his election victory party, Gianforte apologized for his actions but did not address the false claims his campaign made about Jacobs. In his first post-election interview, with MTN News, Gianforte reiterated the apology but again did not directly respond to a question about why the campaign initially blamed the reporter. However, in his letter to Jacobs on Wednesday, Gianforte appeared to make reference to his campaign’s erroneous statement.

“Notwithstanding anyone’s statements to the contrary, you did not initiate any physical contact with me, and I had no right to assault you,” he wrote. “I am sorry for what I did and the unwanted notoriety this has created for you. I take full responsibility.” Gianforte’s apology continued: “I understand the critical role that journalists and the media play in our society. Protections afforded to the press through the Constitution are fundamental to who we are as a nation and the way government is accountable to the people … I had no right to respond the way I did to your legitimate question about healthcare policy. You were doing your job.”

As part of the settlement, Jacobs, who was represented by Kramon and Graham law firm in Baltimore and assisted by local counsel Michael D Cok in Bozeman, signed a release foregoing any potential civil claim against Gianforte in consideration of the charitable donation.

“I have accepted Mr Gianforte’s apology and his willingness to take responsibility for his actions and statements,” Jacobs said in a statement. “I hope the constructive resolution of this incident reinforces for all the importance of respecting the freedom of the press and the first amendment and encourages more civil and thoughtful discourse in our country.”

[From The Guardian]

Ben Jacobs is a better man than all of us, because if that happened to me, I would not have accepted the apology and I would have sued Gianforte into oblivion. I would have been on every cable news show, showing off my broken glasses and crying. I hate this idea that victims of assault are supposed to be the “bigger person” and accept an apology or forgive and forget. So, no, while I respect Ben Jacobs’ decision here, I will never forget that Gianforte is a violent f–king psycho who has no business being a Congressman.

Photos courtesy of Getty.

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19 Responses to “Greg Gianforte finally apologizes to the Guardian reporter he violently assaulted”

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  1. nemera34 says:

    He looks like the WORSE. I wish the legal part had gone through. SORRY doesn’t make it better. He probably settled something and now he gets to walk away. WRONG. At some point people need to be held accountable.

  2. Jessica says:

    You and I both! I would have been on TV in a heartbeat crying with my broken glasses and he would be destroyed! lol

  3. Louise177 says:

    An obvious fake apology. When it happened he and his staff said the reporter attacked him. I agree that Jacobs shouldn’t have let him off easy. No doubt Gianforte and other Republicans will feel they can get off easy in the future for attacking reporters/people.

  4. Lindy79 says:

    So this guy assaulted someone openly and still got elected?
    Welcome to Trump’s America folks….jesus christ

    • Lolo86lf says:

      Exactly! His supporters still voted for him despite him assaulting a reporter, but as soon as someone who is a democrat or from the left wing does something like he did they immediately scream “lock him up”. The right wing supports their people no matter what. Would it be pretentious of me to ask that us on the left should do a bit of the same towards our own.

  5. Beth says:

    A real man would also apologize face to face. He probably realized he wouldn’t be welcomed very warmly if he did not admit he was wrong to attack Ben. He never would have apologized the first time if he hadn’t won.

  6. skyblue says:

    On the bright side (speaking from Montana) we have an amazing opportunity in that Greg Gianforte is so easily agitated. In the months ahead he will be hounded by the press and public like no junior representative has ever been hounded before. He is going to be an albatross around the GOPs neck for years to come. No one will ever let him forget.

  7. Olenna says:

    He’s nothing but a thug and his apology is worth shit.

  8. grabbyhands says:

    Yeah, I would have sued him for whatever I could and then publicly donated any money to “Fund to Help Socialist Gay Dogs” or something like back.

    People need to start fighting back on a level that morons like Gianforte understands. His apology is trash and the only reason he did it was PR so no tries to challenge him being seated in his newly elected position.

  9. Sparkle says:

    This is a man who interprets the Bible literally & believes that humans coexisted with dinosaurs.
    Only $50k?? Wow. He’s a billionaire. His “foundation” has donated millions of dollars to organizations that oppose women’s rights and protections for LGBTQ workers in his Montana.
    What would Jesus do Greg?

  10. anna says:

    this guy is a dog, but what a great apology. whoever wrote that, well done!

    • Trashaddict says:

      Yeah, all the credit goes to his lawyer/publicist/campaign manager. We know he didn’t pen those words.

  11. Addison says:

    I wanted to visit Montana but after this situation I never will go. It is not that this man treated the journalist in that manner. It’s that the voters didn’t care and elected him anyway. Why would I want to be around people like that. That is truly disturbing.

    • maryquitecontrary says:

      Montana is one of the BIGGEST early voting states. When this happened, a staggering number of votes had already been cast. Yes, it’s overwhelmingly red at first blush.

      But…they seem to love Democratic governors.

      I highly recommend Missoula. It is a college town, very laid back, stunningly beautiful backcountry, lovely historic downtown with fun bars and restaurants. You should go. Montana can turn into a love affair (in summer, of course). :)

  12. Al says:

    It’s my understanding that the majority of votes were already cast via absentee ballots and/or early voting when this occurred the night before the election. I’d like to think (foolishly optimistically, I’m sure) that if it happened earlier he wouldn’t have been elected. Maybe?

    • Holly hobby says:

      That’s true. There were reports of people asking if they can change their mind (they can’t).

  13. Tan says:

    I doubt Ben Jacobs really forgave or forgot. This is the polite thing to say in order to end something and not draw it out. The press has a long memory and patience. He can teach this guy a lesson later too.

  14. Tiffany says:

    Ben Jacobs is a attorney. Why the hell did he take this money and take it to civil court. The check better have been huge enough for him to shut it down.

  15. Penelope says:

    I can’t even handle this website anymore. You’re all the worst kind of liberals I’ve ever witnessed…such whiny pathetic girls. It’s absolutely ridiculous. BYE celebitchy! It was fun for a while.