Thursday morning, authorities in Montana announced that Montana Republican Greg Gianforte would be charged with assault for attacking Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs, pushing the reporter down and breaking his glasses at a campaign event Wednesday night.
It’s unclear if Gianforte will suffer serious consequences, from the law or from the voters. His first hearing on the charge is June 7th, and as Montana is a mostly mail-in ballot state, a large percentage of the population has already voted.
But before Wednesday night, Gianforte led something of a charmed life, competing to succeed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke as the Representative of Montana’s at-large Congressional district. Just last month, he was taking awesome photos of with Donald Trump, Jr., who joined him on the campaign trail.
The two posed on Instagram outside a restaurant after an “afternoon of hunting prairie dogs.”
And then they posed inside the restaurant under a giant moose’s head (the Jersey Lilly is apparently famous for its bean soup).
The trio even caught a couple of trout in Montana’s famed fly-fishing streams.
They finished off the mini-tour of the Montana outdoors with a huge rally in Bozeman. Just days later, President Donald Trump (the senior one), cut an add for Gianforte, which started airing on local radio right around the time Gianforte was escaping from last night’s campaign event with his top aides.
Donald Trump, Jr. was due to make another stop in Bozeman before the election, but appears to have cancelled the trip (the election was today, Thursday).
Gianforte’s behavior is reprehensible—even Rep. Paul Ryan, who would be Gianforte’s boss if he wins the election, agreed—but because Montana is such a strange state, politically, it may not keep him from Washington. In stories from just a few days ago, his supporters were characterized as despising “East Coast reporters” who they felt couldn’t understand the Montana way of life.
If he doesn’t make it, though, he can always go back to his day job which, after leaving his consumer management software company in 2011, appears to be perfecting a Creationism museum, the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum, he donated $1.5 million dollars to.