Back in May, Greg Gianforte was approached for an interview by reporter, Ben Jacobs. Gianforte did not wish to be interviewed by Jacobs. The reporter persisted, interrupting Gianforte … who responded by body slamming the reporter onto the floor. The very next day, Gianforte was elected to congress for the state of Montana.
Now, both Jacobs and Gianforte are back in the news. Not for any WWE-type shenanigans, however. This time, Jacobs is accusing Gianforte of reneging on an interview promise that came subsequent to the body slamming incident.
Speaking to other members of the press, Jacobs accused Gianforte of “continuing a pattern of avoiding responsibility for his actions…”
Gianforte’s team insists the promise of an interview was made with the expectation of the conversation being off the record. “Congressman Gianforte’s offer to Mr. Jacobs remains on the table…” A spokesman insisted.
Since the incident, Gianforte has done his best to keep his head down and his name out of the news. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge, agreeing to 40 hours of community service and mandatory anger management classes. It was during the sentencing that, Jacobs says, Gianforte agreed to the interview. Jacobs was in court delivering his victim statement, during which he admitted he would like to interview Gianforte in the future.
The congressman replied, “I’m sorry, and if and when you’re ready, I look forward to sitting down with you in DC.”
Since that day in June, Jacobs has been unable to get that interview on the books. He told CNN, “After over a month of requests as well as an off-the-record meeting with his flack, they offered an off-the-record meeting with ‘Montana beers,’ … I made clear that while I would be happy to do such a meeting, it would have to follow the promised interview.”
Now, Jacob’s employer, The Guardian, is applying its considerable pressure to get Gianforte to comply with the agreement they say he made. Calling for Gianforte to be “a man of his word,” the publication is challenging the congressman to make good.
Emboldened, Jacobs doubled down: “In refusing to do the promised on-the-record interview with me, Congressman Gianforte continues his pattern of avoiding responsibility for his actions and refusing to live up to the statements made in what I had thought was a sincere apology… He has refused to explain why he slandered me, he unsuccessfully tried to avoid pleading guilty to a physical attack against me and he also unsuccessfully fought a legal battle to avoid the mild inconvenience of having a mugshot taken.”
In response, Gianforte’s spokespeople insist the offer is still on the table … though no date has been set for the meeting and no agreement has been made to put the conversation on the record.