House Speaker Paul Ryan is calling for the Republican candidate in Montana's special House election to apologize after allegedly attacking a reporter and getting charged with assault.
Ryan says "that's wrong and should not happen."
But Ryan wouldn't say if Greg Gianforte should be barred from joining the House GOP conference if he wins Thursday's election.
Instead Ryan said, "I'm gonna let the people of Montana decide who they want as their representative."
The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Congressman Steve Stivers, also weighed in Thursday.
Stivers said: "From what I know of Greg Gianforte, this was totally out of character, but we all make mistakes."
GOP lawmakers emerging from a closed-door caucus meeting on Capitol Hill said they didn't know the facts about Gianforte being charged with misdemeanor assault.
A reporter from the Guardian accused the tech millionaire of slamming him to the ground and breaking his glasses in an altercation at Gianforte's campaign headquarters in Bozeman on Wednesday afternoon. The reporter had tried to ask Gianforte a question about the latest budget analysis of the GOP healthcare bill.
A few lawmakers did comment.
Asked if assaulting a reporter is appropriate behavior, California Rep. Duncan Hunter said, "Of course not. It's not appropriate behavior. Unless the reporter deserved it."
Indiana Rep. Luke Messer said he wasn't sure whether the incident would hurt or help Gianforte in Thursday's special election for the open House seat.
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