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Can Montana Forgive and Forget? Greg Gianforte Joins House Under Cloud of Controversy

Can Montana Forgive and Forget? Greg Gianforte Joins House Under Cloud of Controversy Read Transcript


ABIGAIL ROBERTSON (VOICEOVER): On May 24,

the day before Montana voters went to the polls,

it looked like smooth sailing for Greg Gianforte

to win the state's sole congressional seat, and then.

GREG GIANFORTE: I'm sick and tired of you guys!

The last guy that came in here you did the same thing!

ABIGAIL ROBERTSON (VOICEOVER): Gianforte Forte

still won the election by 6% with about 37%

of eligible voters casting their ballots

before the incident occurred.

Prior to running for office, he was

well-known around the state as a successful businessman,

generous philanthropist, and strong Christian,

which made his actions shocking to many who know him well.

MATTHEW MONFORTON: We were shocked.

There are many political candidates in Montana

who, if you heard a story like that,

you wouldn't be surprised that it happened.

But with Greg, we were all surprised,

because it's simply out of character for him.

Greg, I've known for almost 20 years.

That's just not what I've ever seen of him.

When Pastor Hughes first heard about the incident,

he thought it was a hoax.

And then he saw an email from Gianforte,

saying an unfortunate event took place, and he wanted to talk.

BRYAN HUGHES: He called.

And I think one of his first comments

was, Bryan, you know, as my pastor,

I just want you to know I did not glorify God in my actions,

but I sure hope to, and long, to glorify God

in my response going forward.

What do you think happened a couple weeks ago?

I think what happened was after 22 months of campaigning

for governor, and then for congressman, I

think the whole pressure, all of the feeling.

You know, man, I've been dragged through the mud, and all

of that.

I think he just snapped.

And he, obviously, regrets it immensely.

ABIGAIL ROBERTSON (VOICEOVER): Hughes

says he's prayed with Gianforte a few times

about how to best handle the situation.

BRYAN HUGHES: I really was confident

that Greg would take responsibility, take ownership,

and do whatever he had to do to make things right, and seek

to honor the Lord in it in moving forward.

ABIGAIL ROBERTSON (VOICEOVER): He

believes supporters should acknowledge

what happened was unacceptable, but he can still be forgiven.

Unfortunately, there were some in the state on social media

who were almost excusing or justifying.

Saying, well you know, the press does this,

and they got what they deserved.

And so, our elders felt like, no,

we don't want anyone to assume that's our attitude toward it

nor is it Greg's.

ABIGAIL ROBERTSON (VOICEOVER): While there

were reports of some early voters trying

to change their vote, many still have confidence in Gianforte.

In downtown Bozeman, several people

were reluctant to speak on camera,

but say they still support him.

And others say they have just as many questions of the media

as they do of Gianforte.

I'm not sure how much of it was made up and how much of it

wasn't, you know?

But you know, I feel like it was over-exaggerated

by the press a tiny bit.

I think these politicians and political figures

get sort of harassed by the press sometimes.

So it's not entirely shocking, but still I mean,

a shameful thing.

There is a diminished effect of the media pursuing

public figures as much as they do.

Fewer and fewer people are going to get involved.

ABIGAIL ROBERTSON (VOICEOVER): The jury's

still out on whether he can move past this.

I don't think Montana's going to approve

of how he works in the House.

And I don't think Montana approved

of how he behaved the last week of his campaign.

ABIGAL ROBERTSON: Gianforte has about 16 months

to prove himself as a congressman,

and try to put this incident behind him before he's

up for re-election in 2018.

Reporting from Montana, Abigail Robertson, "CBN News".

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