After winning a special election, Greg Gianfonte is on his way to the US House of Representatives as a Montana Republican. The election, however, came under intense scrutiny after Gianfonte assaulted a reporter the night before the opening of the polls. Late Thursday night, Gianfonte, in his victory speech, apologized to the reporter by name, and also to his supporters.
“Last night I learned a lesson,” Gianforte told supporters. “No, please, I need to share something from my heart here,” he calmed the room, “I just ask you to bear with me.”
“And when you make a mistake,” he continued, “you have to own up to it. That’s the Montana way.”
“Last night I made a mistake,” he said, to more laughter, “I took an action that I can’t take back. And I’m not proud of what happened. I should not have responded in the way that I did.
“And for that I’m sorry,” he added, to thunderous applause.
“I should not have treated that reporter that way. And for that, I’m sorry Mr. Ben Jacobs.”
“I also want to apologize for the Fox News team that was there. And I’m sorry to each one of you, that we had to go through this. That’s not the person I am, and it’s not the way I’ll lead in this state.
“Rest assured, our work is just beginning. But it does begin, with me taking responsibility for my own actions. You deserve a congressman who stays out of the limelight, and just gets the job done.”
The special election had already been under intense watch as a harbinger for the upcoming midterm elections, but the attack made it difficult for electoral experts and analysts, as it’s unclear what effect it had on the elections. For the violent incident where witnesses say he grabbed Ben Jacobs by the throat, pushed him to the floor and punched him, Gianfonte was handed a misdemeanor assault charge.
A few conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh, jokingly said about the incident that maybe an attack on a reporter would help any candidate win in Montana. However, others, like Don Lemon of CNN, rebuked President Trump, saying his constant attacks on the press have created a toxic atmosphere which may have encouraged the attack.