Last night, I made a mistake and I took an action that I can’t take back, and I’m not proud of what happened. I should not have responded the way that I did and for that I’m sorry.
That’s from the election night speech delivered by Republican Greg Gianforte, who prevailed in a special election last night over Rob Quist, a folk singer.
As you’re undoubtedly aware, Gianforte’s apology excerpted above is a reference to a rather unfortunate incident in which he apparently “body-slammed” a reporter from The Guardian earlier this week.
Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) May 24, 2017
He’s been charged with misdemeanor assault and will make a court appearance sometime before June 7 to find out whether he’ll be convicted.
So that’s fun.
Trump called Gianforte’s victory a “great win in Montana.” Here’s Politico with some context:
In a state that Trump won handily during last year’s presidential election, Gianforte was the beneficiary of significant assistance from high-profile Republicans, including the president and Vice President Mike Pence, both of whom recorded robocalls on behalf of the GOP candidate. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) all sent fundraising emails for Gianforte, who was also boosted by phone-banking efforts from the National Rifle Association.
Both Pence and Donald Trump Jr. also made in person appearances in support of Gianforte.
Gianforte’s apology came after Paul Ryan suggested it might be a good idea to express some semblance of remorse.
“I do not think this is acceptable behavior, but the choice will be made by the people of Montana,” Ryan said during a press conference on Thursday. “I think he should apologize.”
Well he did and as CNN notes, “Republicans couldn’t refuse to seat him even if they wanted to [as] this was litigated in the late 1960s in a case involving Rep. Adam Clayton Powell.”
And really, I’m not sure why they (Republicans) would “want to.” I mean look, you shouldn’t be out there body-slamming reporters and to be sure, “assault” isn’t something you want to put on your resume as a politician. But politicians do worse things every single day than body-slamming reporters and ultimately, I’m not sure “misdemeanor assault” is a charge serious enough to warrant essentially stripping Montana voters of their right to choose their representative.
But, do you know what should be cause to keep Gianforte out of any roll in which he is trusted to make decisions that impact all Americans? This (ca. 2014 from Salon):
A major funder of “creation museums” has been selected – strange as it may seem – to be the commencement speaker at Montana’s leading institution of science, Montana Tech, the mining and engineering school in Butte that has produced some of the world’s top geologists.
The speaker is Greg Gianforte, a conservative billionaire whose philanthropic endeavors include funding museums whose purpose is to discredit Darwinism and persuade visitors that the Earth is 6,000 years old, that North America’s geology was carved by Noah’s flood, and that dinosaurs coexisted with early humans.
To say the least, Gianforte is an odd choice to address an audience of young men and women who are embarking on careers in the earth sciences, many as mining and petroleum engineers. On the day Gianforte speaks, these graduates will be ending four years of studying how the Earth, and everything in it, formed over billions of years out of stardust.
They will now be sermonized by a man who bankrolled the 20,000-square-foot Dinosaur and Fossil Museum in Glendive, Mont. This museum’s website warns that “when you visit a major natural history museum, you will see wide-eyed children being funneled into an abyss of deception.” The curator of the museum told the Billings Gazette that “there’s no scientific proof whatsoever that evolution ever took place.” Visitors are shown displays and dioramas that explain how the dinosaurs likely died out 4,300 years ago, during the great flood.
Here’s renowned paleontologist Jack Horner (who consulted with Steven Spielberg on the “Jurassic Park” movies) to explain why Greg is a fucking idiot:
So no, misdemeanor assault is not a good reason to strip Montana voters of their right to choose who represents them.
But do you know what is? Believing that evolution isn’t real and claiming that the earth is only 6,000 years old. That’s what.
You absolutely cannot have people like that involved in making public policy decisions.
Because I couldn’t possibly think of a funnier way to drive this point home, I’ll leave it to Molly, who notes that “body slam guy believes that dinosaurs were heterosexually married in Noah’s ark.”