Gaetz Makes Gianforte Joke, Gets Schooled

Florida congressman jokes about reporter who ‘occasionally deserved it’

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on April 26, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on April 26, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted May 25, 2017 at 12:16pm

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz got a lesson on the state’s Stand Your Ground law after he made a joke about Montana congressional candidate’s alleged attack on a reporter.

The morning after Republican Greg Gianforte allegedly attacked a reporter for asking whether he supported the Republican health care bill after its Congressional Budget Office scoring was released, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz joked that an editor at the Tampa Bay Times has “occasionally deserved” something similar.

That’s when a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times noted that things might not go so well for Gaetz if he tried something similar in Florida.

Under the law in Florida, the Guardian reporter who Gianforte allegedly attacked and threw to the ground would be justified in shooting his attacker.

Gaetz conceded the point.

Montana actually has its own Stand Your Ground law, meaning Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs would have had legal justification there had he shot Gianforte instead of calling the police.