Reaction in Montana and around the world to the Gianforte misdemeanor assault charge has been varied.
California GOP Congressman Duncan Hunter speaking to the press Thursday on Capitol Hill said assaulting a reporter is not appropriate behavior "unless the reporter deserved it," according to a tweet posted by Associated Press reporter Mary Clare Jalonick.
Montana Standard editor David McComber says he's not surprised by the level of vitriol against the media, and it's not a recent development.
Rep. Duncan Hunter said of MT reporter assault, “It’s not appropriate behavior. Unless the reporter deserved it.”
— Mary Clare Jalonick (@MCJalonick) May 25, 2017
"It started during the presidential campaign, during the Trump campaign, and it certainly wasn't helped by
the President saying that media is 'the enemy of the people,'" said McComber.
McComber cites one of the foundations of our country is a free press. He's unsure if this assault charge against Gianforte will impact today's election since about half the expected voter turnout has participated in early voting.
One Gianforte supporter McComber talked to this morning in Butte loved this.
"'It's about time a reporter got his butt kicked for getting in somebody's face,'" McComber said, quoting a Gianforte supporter.
He also talked to quite a few people who were disgusted by it.
McComber says this puts a premium on Montana Democrats' efforts to get out the vote since Montana voters can register and vote on the same day.
Earlier this month, Vice President Mike Pence and the President's son, Donald Trump Jr., were in Billings to campaign on behalf of Gianforte. It was noted in press coverage that part of Gianforte's campaign speech included an impersonation of a reporter.
Gianforte says he got a call from an "east coast reporter" who apparently asked "do you actually own a g-gun?" He said w/ studder.
— Matt Hudson (@mhudsonBG) May 13, 2017