Montana's Gianforte draws mild GOP rebukes following violent incident

Image: GOP Congressional Candidate Greg Gianforte Campaigns In Great Falls, MT
Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters during a campaign meet and greet at Lions Park on May 23, 2017 in Great Falls, Montana.

"I do not think this is acceptable behavior, but the choice will be made by the people of Montana," Ryan said during a press conference in Washington."There is no time when a physical altercation should occur with the press and just between human beings. So that is wrong and it just should not have happened.... I think he should apologize."

It's the "but the choice will be made by the people of Montana" part of the answer that stood out for me.We're looking at a dynamic in which a candidate for federal office may allegedly assault a journalist, lie about it, face a criminal charge, win the election, and take office. The political consequences of this behavior would simply not exist.Indeed, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) told NBC News that if Gianforte wins the race today, "of course" he'd be "welcome" in the House Republican conference.In other words, when pressed, GOP officials will denounce acts of violence against the free press, but they're not prepared to reject those who stand accused of committing those acts.Postscript: Gianforte had scheduled on-air interviews with Fox News and MSNBC this afternoon. Both interviews were subsequently canceled.