02:58 - Source: CNN
Tapper: If you can't condemn an assault ...
CNN —  

On Wednesday, the Republican candidate in Montana’s special congressional election, Greg Gianforte, was charged with misdemeanor assault after he allegedly body slammed a Guardian political reporter, Ben Jacobs.

The campaign in a statement said the altercation was the result of Jacobs’ “aggressive behavior,” but that account was contradicted by an audio tape of their encounter and three eyewitnesses who work at Fox News.

In a statement, the National Republican Campaign Committee said “we all make mistakes.”

“(Mistakes) is what we’re apparently calling misdemeanor assault these days.” Jake Tapper said on CNN’s “The Lead.”

After the incident happened, a Montana voter approached CNN reporter Kyung Lah. After finding out she worked at CNN, the voter said, “You’re lucky someone doesn’t pop one of you.”

The editorial board of the Billings Gazette, a CNN affiliate, retracted its endorsement of Gianforte, stating, “We believe that you cannot love America, love the Constitution, talk about the importance of a free press and then pummel a reporter.”

Tapper echoed the newspaper’s stance.

“Let us add that those public officials finding it difficult these days to muster the courage to strongly condemn a politician committing assault on a reporter, maybe you need to reexamine how much you truly love the Constitution beyond just saying the words,” he said.