Republican candidate who 'body-slammed journalist' called 'wannabe Trump' by Democrat leader
Greg Gianforte, who is contesting a special election in Montana, was charged after being accused of body-slamming a reporter who was trying to ask him a question about healthcare.
As voters went to the polls for a contest in which Mr Gianforte is taking on Democrat Rob Quist, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the congressman had failed to show any dignity. She said he was “a wannabe Trump”.
“I viewed that as a mom and a grandmother,” Ms Pelosi said at a press conference on Capitol Hill, according to the Associated Press.
“We try to have some level of dignity as to how we treat people and who we are. To see this person, who wants to be the one representative into the House of Representatives from Montana be sort of a wannabe Trump.”
She added: “You know, use language like that, treat people harshly like that that’s his model. Donald Trump’s his model.
“We’ve really got to say, ‘Come on. Behave. Behave. That was outrageous’.”
Both during the election campaign, and since he has assumed the presidency, Mr Trump has repeatedly criticised the media, accusing them of publishing “fake news” and referring to them as bad people and even “scum”.
Earlier this year, Mr Trump’s political advisor, Stephen Bannon, boasted before a gathering of conservatives in Washington, that he considered the media “the opposition party”.
Mr Gianforte has denied the version of events as detailed by Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs, who reported being assaulted, or by other members of the media who were present. The newspaper has said it stands by its reporter and his behaviour.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, the most senior Republican on Capitol Hill, called on Mr Gianforte to apologise. and said that what took place was never acceptable, regardless of the details.
He said the incident was “wrong and should not happen”, but declined to say if Mr Gianforte should be barred from joining the House Republican conference if he wins the election.
He said: “I’m going to let the people of Montana decide who they want as their representative.”