Rep Gianforte Responds To Trump Bodyslam Tweet
On Sunday President Donald Trump sent out a tweet that some interpreted as encouraging violence against reporters. In a short video clip from Trump’s 2007 appearance in a pro wrestling match, he can be seen bodyslamming a man with the CNN logo superimposed over his face.MTPR's Eric Whitney had a chance to talk to Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte about the tweet Wednesday. In June, Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault for bodyslamming a reporter at a campaign event.
Eric Whitney: Is this something that’s worthy of an interview, and something that’s relevant for you to talk about?
Greg Gianforte: Would I have sent this tweet? I’m not sure. But the reality is, the administration is doing good work. I would probably categorize this particular tweet as a distraction.
EW: Some people interpreted the tweet as promoting violence against reporters. Did you interpret it that way?
GG: I would just say, I think the focus ought to be on the business of the people. And I would characterize – because we’re even talking about this, and not talking about some of the meatier issues and what the American people and Montanans want us to talk about, I would characterize it as a distraction.
EW: When you said that one of your goals is to bring more civility, or you’d like to see more civility in politics, do you have specific goals for how you can make that happen?
GG: That comment was made in context of the shooting that occurred in Washington, D.C., and for an armed gunman to plot to go and shoot members of Congress; I don’t think is civil. That was the context of that comment.
EW: You don’t have any specific plans or goals for how you can help …
GG: It’s what I’ve done in business my whole life. I think we ought to have substantive and meaty discussions about the issues of the time, and we ought to in the process. Everyone needs to have their voice heard. We need to get about the business of the people.
This is why my first action back there was to introduce a bill that would say, if we can’t balance the budget, Congress shouldn’t get paid. Now, I didn’t say that to tickle the ears of Congress, in fact, there was kind of bi-partisan response to that on the House floor. But again, I’m not there to tickle the ears of the other Congressional members. I’m there to do the business the people of Montana sent me there for, and I’ll be a strong voice for Montana. I’ll do it with respect, but we need to talk about the important issues of the day.
EW: Can I ask you what your response was, or how you perceived the tweet that we’re talking about when you became aware of it?
GG: I believe the tweet is a distraction from these major issues that we need to work on, things like tax reform and affordable health care.