President Donald Trump is overseas on a five-nation tour, but he’s tuned in to politics back home.
“Great win in Montana,” Trump told reporters in Italy today without being asked, according to pool reports. The president was reacting to Thursday night’s special U.S. House election win in Big Sky Country by Republican Greg Gianforte.
Gianforte faces misdemeanor assault charges after reporter Ben Jacobs of The Guardian says the Republican “body-slammed” him when he tried to ask him a question Wednesday night. Gianforte apologized to the reporter in his victory speech Thursday night.
“When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it,” Gianforte told his supporters at his election night rally in Bozeman. “That’s the Montana way.”
Saying he was “not proud” of his behavior, he added, “I should not have responded the way I did. For that I’m sorry. I should not have treated that reporter that way, and for that I’m sorry, Mr. Ben Jacobs.”
As is often the case with special elections, the statewide Montana race (Montana, with fewer registered voters than Palm Beach County, has only one at-large U.S. House district) was viewed by many as an early referendum on Trump’s presidency. Trump won Montana by 20.6 percent over Hillary Clinton in November. But Montana isn’t a uniformly red state. While Trump was cruising to victory, Gianforte lost the governor’s race by 3.4 points to Democrat Steve Bullock.