Dingell blasts Montana candidate in body-slamming claim

Detroit News staff and wire reports, The Detroit News

In his retirement, former Michigan Rep. John Dingell has been known to take to Twitter to share humorous insights and advice on the news of the day.

Dingell does so enough to have earned the nickname “tweet king” from POLITICO’s Playbook. Wednesday was no exception as a reporter alleged that a Republican candidate for Montana’s sole congressional seat body-slammed him the day before the polls close in a nationally watched special election.


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Dingell jumped right in.

“Hell, I spent 60 years in Congress without bodyslamming a single reporter,” Dingell tweeted. “This guy in Montana won’t last long if he manages to win.”


Dingell’s frank remark referenced the controversy surrounding Greg Gianforte, who is seeking to fill a vacant seat in the U.S. House, and Guardian newspaper reporter Ben Jacobs. The candidate’s campaign claims the reporter entered a private room without permission then “aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face and began asking badgering questions” before being asked to leave.

Campaign officials claim Gianforte asked Jacobs to lower a phone that was being used as an audio recorder, then tried to grab it, but the reporter then grabbed his wrist and both men fell to the ground.

In an audio recording posted by the Guardian, the reporter asks the congressional candidate about the GOP’s health care bill, which was just evaluated hours earlier by the Congressional Budget Office.

“We’ll talk to you about that later,” Gianforte says on the recording, referring Jacobs to a spokesman.

When Jacobs says that there won’t be time, Gianforte says: “Just--” and there is a crashing sound. Gianforte yells, “The last guy who came here did the same thing,” and a shaken-sounded Jacobs tells the candidate he just body-slammed him.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office in Montana said it’s investigating allegations of an assault involving the wealthy Bozeman businessman.

On Wednesday night, Dingell was even more succinct in his appraisal of Gianforte.

“Lock him up,” the Dearborn Democrat tweeted.