"We didn't have a course on bodyslamming": Republicans, conservative defend Gianforte

Republicans seem ready to welcome Greg Gianforte to Congress if the Republican is elected Thursday

Published May 25, 2017 12:00PM (EDT)

Greg Gianforte      (Fox Business)
Greg Gianforte (Fox Business)

Right-wingers are starting to come up with defenses for Greg Gianforte, the Republican congressional candidate in Montana who was recorded physically attacking a journalist.

Some are claiming that, if members of the left have been violent against members of the right in the past, then obviously it's okay.

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Derek Hunter of the Daily Caller implied that Jacobs wanted to get physically attacked so that Democratic candidate Rob Quist would win the election.

Talk show host Laura Ingraham attacked Jacobs' masculinity, since apparently a real man doesn't report a crime that has been committed against him.

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas joked that "we didn't have a course on bodyslamming when I went to school. I missed that course. I'm sorry I missed it."

Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona implied that the left-wing is responsible for Gianforte's actions. "The left has precipitated this tense, confrontational approach throughout the country in recent months," Franks said, before adding "I reject any kind of thing where we use physical violence in a situation like that. It should not have happened and the law will have to be the ultimate arbiter."

Republican Rep. Roger Williams of Texas had a similar excuse for Gianforte, saying, "When you run for office, there's a lot of tension. It's kind of game time, you know? I'm not saying we need to take down our opponents or our friends, but I don't know what really happened." Similarly, Republican Rep. Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin deflected by citing Trump's slogan "drain the swamp" and saying that he'd be happy to welcome Gianforte if he opposes big government and open borders.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He specializes in covering science and history, and is particularly passionate about climate change, animal science, disability rights, plastic pollution and a wide range of political issues. He has interviewed many prominent figures (reflecting his diverse interests) including President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), actress Cady McClain ("All My Children"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges Benjamin (2002-present), comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2") and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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