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Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte has been accused of body-slamming a Guardian journalist after being asked about healthcare on Wednesday. He ended up winning the special election, but before that was determined, late-night hosts weighed in on the alleged assault.
On NBC’s Late Night, Seth Meyers said Republicans are trying a “new tactic” for dealing with scrutiny — body-slamming reporters. Gianforte reportedly body-slammed reporter Ben Jones and broke his glasses after becoming enraged at a question about healthcare.
“Wow, I guess the GOP really has become the party of Donald Trump,” said Meyers, showing a clip of Trump body-slamming WWE CEO Vince McMahon. “That was a thing, a real thing that happened, and we still said, ‘Yeah, he should be president.'”
After describing the Gianforte incident, Meyers said, “The GOP health care plan is so bad, Republicans would rather body-slam reporters than answer a question about it. His response to the question was to give the reporter a pre-existing condition.”
He criticized Gianforte’s statement following the incident, which Meyers said tried to make the politician himself sound like a victim. Meyers told Gianforte that he’s a politician and it’s his job to answer reporters questions.
And in response to the Fox News reporters who detailed Gianforte’s alleged assault, Meyers said, “Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d say, ‘Thank you Fox News for telling us the truth.'”
On CBS’ Late Show, Stephen Colbert touched on the special congressional election saying Gianforte may or may not win but “he will definitely win the next Wrestlemania.”
Colbert played the real audio of the interview, in which Ben Jacobs can be heard asking Gianforte a question and then the altercation ensues.
Jacobs said: “You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses.” Colbert complimented Jacobs for his good reporting of “narrating his own body-slam.”
At the end of the segment Colbert assaulted a dummy dressed like a member of the audience after being asked a question.
NBC’s Jimmy Fallon very briefly talked about the alleged violence on Thursday’s Tonight Show, turning it into a joke about Dwayne Johnson’s potential presidential run.
“Some Republicans are defending him, saying the body-slam wasn’t a big deal, which they might regret in three years, when The Rock runs for president,” joked Fallon.
Gianforte was cited on misdemeanor assault charges and then apologized for the incident after his win.
“When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it,” Politico reports Gianforte saying at a victory party. “That’s the Montana way. 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 in the way that I did and for that I am sorry. I should not have treated that reporter that way and for that I am sorry, Mr. Ben Jacobs.”
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