The president has obsessively spoken against the media pretty much ever since ascending to power. Whenever a news outlet reports upon something that he’d prefer not be reported upon, he shouts about “fake news,” normally on Twitter.
For some reporters, the president’s words are more than just empty threats. Back in May, the night before a special election to replace Ryan Zinke as Montana’s U.S. Representative, reporter Ben Jacobs approached Republican candidate — and eventual victor — Greg Gianforte to ask him a question about the then-ongoing GOP efforts to repeal ObamaCare.
Gianforte responded to Jacobs by body slamming him into the ground, breaking his glasses in the process. He also punched him several times. The altercation was caught on tape and Gianforte eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault.
Now, however, the incident is again picking up steam, after a Montana GOP official said that if she were in Gianforte’s position, she would have shot Jacobs.
Yes, that’s right — an official with the president’s political party is threatening to shoot those exercising their First Amendment rights. The worst part is that she’s not alone in her beliefs; we’re just paying more attention to these elements of our society now that the belligerent racist Donald Trump is our president.
As The Guardian reports, vice-president of programs for Gallatin County Republican Women Karen Marshall told the Voice of Montana radio program this past week, referring to reporter Ben Jacobs:
‘If that kid had done to me what he did to Greg, I would have shot him. That kid came on private property, came into a private building, and went into a very private room that I would not even have gone into. It was a setup. A complete setup. He just pushed a little too hard.’
Marshall described herself as a “friend” of Gianforte; and indeed, public records show that a Karen Marshall donated the federal maximum of $2,700 to Gianforte’s campaign.
She made her comments in a call-in to the radio station while it was hosting a question and answer session with a Democrat named John Heenan who may run against Gianforte in 2018.
For his part, Congressman Gianforte — who was permitted to proceed to Congress even in the face of his assault charge — has spoken out against Marshall’s comments via his spokesperson Travis Hall, who told the Helena Independent Record:
‘Greg disagrees with those remarks, repudiates them and remains focused on being a strong voice for Montana in Washington.’
Gianforte was, as The Guardian reports, “sentenced to community service, a $385 fine and 20 hours of anger management therapy.”
The aforementioned Democrat, who was being interviewed on Montana radio when Marshall called in, spoke for all of us when he said in a press release following his appearance:
‘The fact members of [Gianforte’s] party are sort of doubling down and wishing worse harm on Ben Jacobs really bothers me. There’s just no place in politics for this type of violent rhetoric. It’s not a partisan issue.’
There is no apparent word yet as to whether or not Marshall will be able to keep her job with the GOP.