A new poll finds that over four out of every 10 supporters of President Donald Trump support physically assaulting reporters by body-slamming them.
According to a survey by Public Policy Polling released on June 12, 42 percent of Trump voters believe that it is appropriate for "Republican elected officials to body slam members of the media," while 45 percent believe that the criminal act is inappropriate.
On the other side of the aisle, 6 percent of Clinton supporters indicated that they think such violence is appropriate, while 89 percent believe it's inappropriate.
Among the general public, 22 percent of voters said assaulting reporters is appropriate, while 69 percent said it was not.
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On June 12, incoming Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte of Montana pleaded guilty to body-slamming Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian. Gianforte was sentenced to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management, reports the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
Gianforte, whose campaign originally denied that he assaulted Jacobs, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in the Gallatin County Justice Court.
Gianforte told Judge Rick West what happened on May 24: "I grabbed his wrist. A scuffle ensued and he was injured, as I understand it. It was not my intention to hurt him."
Montana voters rewarded Gianforte the day after the fight by electing him as their congressman.
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West called Gianforte's actions "totally unacceptable," but spared him jail time by giving him a six-month deferred sentence, along with $385 in court fees and fines.
Gianforte is required to complete his community service by Nov. 28. The charges may be dismissed after six months if Gianforte obeys the judge's sentence.
Bill Mercer, a former U.S. attorney for Montana, said that Gianforte had paid Jacobs $4,464.97 in restitution.
Jacobs recalled the incident in court from the witness stand: "I have asked questions of hundreds of politicians: congressmen, senators and even the man who is now our president. Mr. Gianforte’s response was to slam me to the floor and start punching me."
Jacobs recalled his injuries and how Gianforte’s campaign released a "defamatory" public statement that blamed Jacobs for the incident.
As part of a settlement, Gianforte publicly apologized to Jacobs and agreed to donate $50,000 to a journalism nonprofit organization.
Jacobs said he hopes to interview Gianforte in Washington D.C.: "I have accepted his apology and fully expect his thoughtful words to be followed by concrete actions once he has taken his seat in Congress. I even hope to be able to finally interview him once he has arrived on Capitol Hill."
Gianforte told Jacobs in court: "When you’re ready, I look forward to sitting down with you."
Jacobs answered: "I look forward to it."
Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert, who prosecuted Gianforte, asked the court not to give Gianforte community service or anger management.
Lambert praised the man whom he was prosecuting as a "tremendously successful" businessman: "The people of Montana will benefit for many, many years from his generosity."
Lambert insisted that Gianforte took full responsibility: "He took it head on. He didn’t duck and weave." Lambert also praised Gianforte’s "honesty and his forthrightness."
Gianforte did not mention the false statement his campaign gave.