When you're in the GOP, you can assault a reporter then lead a training workshop on communications.
That's exactly what's happening right now as the National Republican Congressional Committee has chosen Greg Gianforte as the keynote speaker for its monthly communications workshop.
Yes, you read that right. The same Montana congressman who body-slammed Ben Jacobs, a political reporter from The Guardian, and lied to the police about it.
Ironic, isn't it?
The hour-long session to be led by Gianforte is titled “Hire for culture, train for skill.”
One wonders how this “communication expert” will instruct the attendees of the workshop, who are believed to be mostly press aides related to GOP members of Congress. (Maybe how to assault a journalist or perhaps how to mislead the people and put the blame on the victim?)
The invitations for the February workshop — to be held at the National Indian Gaming Association offices in Washington — carry a picture of the millionaire Republican and brag about Gianforte’s entrepreneurial wealth. Needless to say, the invites do not mention his violent history with the press.
The incident took place last year in May during the special election in Montana. Jacobs had only asked Gianforte about the latest developments on the GOP health care bill. The congressman lost his temper and punched the reporter repeatedly, breaking his glasses.
Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) May 24, 2017
Gianforte, who is “sick and tired” of journalists, spun the story as soon as it surfaced on the social media. His spokesman, Shane Scanlon, held Jacobs responsible and the Montana Republican also claimed it was actually the journalist who initiated the assault.
The Fox News reporting team, who was also present at the congressman’s address, categorically denied Gianforte’s claims and came forward in Jacobs' support.
“Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him,” reporter Alicia Acuna wrote on the Fox website. “To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte.”
Shockingly, the day following the incident, Gianforte won the Montana seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The seat was vacated after Ryan Zinke was appointed as President Trump’s interior secretary.
Following the reports from other media houses, Gianforte pleaded guilty to an assault charge. He was ordered to attend anger management classes and fined $385 in June. Gianforte apologized to Jacobs in a letter. Before being charged and sentenced, the congressman reached an agreement with Jacobs, agreeing to pay $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
What was the GOP's criterion for choosing someone like Gianforte as the lead speaker?
This is how people responded to NRCC's decision of picking Gianforte as a communication expert.
Congressman who assaulted a journalist and then tried to blame the journalist will lead a....communications workshop for other Republicans: https://t.co/Rr9cKuzXjE— Lois Beckett (@loisbeckett) January 31, 2018
Rep. Greg Gianforte (yes the one who was charged with assault) to headline NRCC 'communicators workshop' … ‘Hire for culture train for skill’— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) January 30, 2018
1. Assault reporter— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) January 30, 2018
2. Mislead police and voters
3. Get elected
4. Avoid jail by apologizing and promising reporter an interview
5. Get sworn in
6. Abandon promise
7. Lead a communications workshop for your partyhttps://t.co/hvBpbQFub2
The GOP has tapped Greg Gianforte to teach congressional candidates about communication https://t.co/L9iHacRvuK— Julia Carrie Wong (@juliacarriew) January 30, 2018
Greg Gianforte, Communications Expert? Why not? We’ve already got Donald Trump, President. Next up: Harvey Weinstein, Feminist, and Homer Simpson, Nobelist.— Kath Barnes (@KathBarnes86) January 31, 2018
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Colter Peterson