The reporter who was thrown to the ground by Greg Gianforte says the Montana Republican’s account of the incident was almost entirely inaccurate.
Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian, said he was body-slammed Wednesday by Gianforte while trying to ask him questions about the health care reform bill, but the GOP candidate claimed the “aggressive” and “liberal” reporter was accidentally thrown to the ground during a struggle over his recording device.
The candidate was charged with misdemeanor assault, and Jacobs told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that Gianforte had misrepresented the encounter.
“The only thing in Gianforte’s statement that is factually correct is my name and my place of employment,” Jacobs said.
The reporter denied being the aggressor, as the candidate suggested.
“I never touched or came close to Gianforte,” he said. “It became something that turned on a dime into some type of encounter I never expected to have with a politician, and one that’s very disappointing for what it means to the press and what the role of reporters to ask politicians in the United States.”
The Fox News reporters said Gianforte punched Jacobs after throwing him the ground by his neck with both hands, but the reporter said he couldn’t be sure what had happened.
“I was on the ground at that point, so it was a little bit sudden,” Jacobs said. “I went from being vertical one moment to being horizontal the next.”
He told ABC News he had covered previous Gianforte campaign events but had no history of run-ins with the candidate.
“I think there may have been some discontent with an article by a colleague of mine, but I had no personal interactions with him other than sort of following him around at a couple of campaign stops in Great Falls and Helena,” Jacobs said.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 25, 2017