DUMASS, MONTANA — The race for former Congressman Ryan Zinke’s Montana congressional seat just took a turn for the violent. Republican candidate Greg Gianforte has been charged with a misdemeanor assault, and a few newspapers in the state have rescinded their endorsement of Gianforte after tape has surfaced of him body slamming Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian U.S.
Montana officials charged Gianforte with a misdemeanor assault Wednesday evening, after Jacobs and other witnesses said Gianforte body-slammed Jacobs as he asked the candidate about a new Congressional Budget Office report on the Republican health care bill. (source)
While it’s entirely possible that Gianforte might have cost himself — and his party — a congressional seat, the World Wrestling Entertainment company co-owned by Trump administration official Linda McMahon, may have just ridden to his rescue as well. According to sources closely placed to the Gianforte campaign, the WWE has offered him a contract, saying they liked his style and saw some “real, raw, wrestling talent” in his body slam of the reporter.
The WWE reportedly cited the reporter’s own accounts of the incident, as reported by Fortune:
“He seemed to just snap,” Jacobs said on Good Morning America. “Having asked a number of politicians a number of questions about policy I’ve never had that reaction to a question about health care reform before.” (source)
“Mr. Gianforte,” an offer letter provided to us reads, “we couldn’t help but notice the news accounts of your incident with a Guardian reporter. While this kind of angry, aggressive behavior is unbecoming in an elected official, it’s a prized character trait for the World Wrestling Entertainment family. We’d like to take this time to extend to you an offer of employment.”
The offer states that Gianforte would come on and play a “heel” character. Heels in the wrestling industry are the “bad guys” that the audience is encouraged to boo, hiss, and generally hate on. The WWE’s letter says that as a Republican politician, Gianforte could be especially suited to play this part.
“Your party is currently trying to brazenly dismantle a healthcare law that while flawed, still works enough to provide millions of people healthcare coverage,” the letter reads, “which you are all trying desperately to end for those people. If that doesn’t scream ‘bad guy’ we don’t really know what does.”
The employment offer made another appeal to Gianforte’s Republicanism.
“As a Republican, you’ve already got experience playing a fictitious part — someone who can be simultaneously pro-life but not want to help people once they’re born. Or perhaps someone who is pro-freedom, but not for women to have the freedom to make their own reproductive decisions.”
At the time of publication, Gianforte had not yet responded to the WWE’s offer.
You can follow James on Twitter @JamesSchlarmann.