Rep. elect Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) is taking full responsibility for his assault on a reporter last month.
In a letter addressed directly to Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs Wednesday, Gianforte expressed remorse and assumed complete blame for what happened at a campaign event in Montana when witnesses saw the reporter knocked to the ground by the candidate.
Jacobs tried to ask Gianforte a question about the healthcare bill moving through Congress. When Gianforte tried to avoid answering the question, the mild-mannered Jacobs pressed him.
This is when Gianforte turned violent. Jacobs wound up on the floor with his glasses broken and his body bruised. Those glasses are now an artifact at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
“My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable and unlawful,” Gianforte wrote in the letter.
The congressman could still face a hefty fine and six months behind bars.
Politico‘s Hadas Gold broke the news.
“Notwithstanding anyone’s comments to the contrary, you did not initiate any physical contact with me, and I had no right to assault you,” Gianforte continued. “I am sorry for what I did and the unwanted notoriety this has created for you. I take full responsibility.”
To that end, Gianforte informed Jacobs that he’s donating $50K to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization that promotes press freedoms around the world.
“I made a mistake and humbly ask for your forgiveness,” Gianforte wrote.
According to the Politico report, Jacobs has accepted the congressman’s apology.