Quitting in a crisis is for losers.
I have never been to Montana. I have never met Greg Gianforte and don’t think I have met Ben Jacobs. I wasn’t there and only heard audio. I am not a journalist or an dispassionate political observer. I am a partisan political consultant. I think that is all the disclaimer I need. Ben I hope you are feeling ok and I will buy you a beer or bourbon and love to hear the story firsthand.
I was asked by a journalist this morning “Should Gianforte’s spokesperson have quit after seeing the incident?” Simple answer is “No.”
Political hacks and flacks of all political stripes exist for situations exactly like this. Anyone who has worked for a candidate knows they are imperfect humans under extraordinary pressure and scrutiny and from time-t0-time they lose it…just like the rest of us. I want to be clear, physically assaulting a reporter (or anyone else for that matter) is almost always a bad idea brought on in a bad situation. Again, I wasn’t there but if I was I would absolutely work with my boss/client to clarify the situation and get back on message ASAP. Cold? Cynical? Unethical? Give me a break…it’s what we do.
Political communications professionals exist in a world where speed kills and the appearance of impropriety kills faster.
If your question is should someone “bodyslam”, “grab” or otherwise “aggressively position their bodies” with a member of the press? The answer is no because you lose time and get off message and, yes, it might be illegal too.
If you are going to dive into the narrative of “boo hoo our politics are too negative and becoming more violent” please do the rest of us a favor and pick up a history book over the long weekend or just re-watch “Gangs of New York”.
PS My writing is terrible and sounds better as a rant over single malt scotch.