Robert O’Neill, the former Navy SEAL who claimed to have fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden, called the reporter who was “body-slammed” by a Republican House candidate in Montana a “snowflake.”
Speaking during an appearance on Fox News’ “The Specialists,” O’Neill, who is from Montana, also said the incident seemed “kind of funny based on my history.”
The incident in question happened Wednesday night ahead of a campaign event for Republican candidate Greg Gianforte. Approached by Ben Jacobs of The Guardian and pressed about the Congressional Budget Office score for the American Health Care Act, Gianforte reportedly grabbed Jacobs by the throat and slammed him to the ground, breaking his glasses. Fox News reporters on scene said Gianforte also punched Jacobs, who later tweeted that he was “body slammed” by Gianforte.
Gianforte was subsequently charged with misdemeanour assault.
“All of a sudden, what happened there in Montana, apparently this snowflake reporter invaded Gianforte’s safe space,” O’Neill said. “And we have a saying up there you know if you mess around, you mess around and you might not be around.”
O’Neill went into his own history dealing with the media, which he said was intense after he claimed he fired the shots that killed bin Laden.
“These guys kind of bum-rushed my father, they got him to say some stuff,” he said. “He didn’t know the difference between on the record and off the record.”
He criticised “ambush tactics” he said were deployed by those reporters and Jacobs.
“Granted, I’m not condoning the body slam,” he said. “I think it’s kind of funny based on my history. But you know, you try to mess with it sometimes, you’ll get the bull’s horns in Montana.”
The special election for Montana’s lone House seat is Thursday. Prior to the violent incident, the race between Gianforte and Democratic candidate Rob Quist appeared to be tightening. The candidates are vying to replace Ryan Zinke, whom President Donald Trump selected to be Interior secretary.
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