alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

Reporter stumps GOP lawmaker by asking him to cite where in the US Constitution it says socialists ‘either go to prison or are shot’

Reporter stumps GOP lawmaker by asking him to cite where in the US Constitution it says socialists ‘either go to prison or are shot’

The Montana Republican Party is facing another scandal over the use of violence to settle political disputes.


“A Billings Republican legislator said Saturday he believes the U.S. Constitution calls for the shooting or jailing of those who identify as socialists,” the Billings Gazette reports.

At a gathering of the state party on Friday, State Rep. Rodney Garcia reportedly said the Constitution requires jailing or shooting socialists during a Q & A with former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

“You know, Montana’s a great state,” Zinke replied.

“We have to do something,” Garcia urged.

On Saturday, Garcia was asked about his remarks.

“So actually in the Constitution of the United States (if) they are found guilty of being a socialist member you either go to prison or are shot,” Garcia claimed.

The newspaper noted, “Garcia could not to point to where in the Constitution it says socialists could be shot or jailed.”

In 2017, Greg Gianforte attacked reporter Ben Jacobs for asking a question about health care. He was caught lying to investigators, but was not arrested for obstruction of justice by Sheriff Brian Gootkin, who contributed to Gianforte’s campaign.

The following day, Gianforte was elected to Congress in a special election for the statewide seat left vacant when Zinke was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to lead the Department of the Interior.

Karen Marshall, of the Gallatin County Republican Women, said she would have shot Jacobs for asking a question about the GOP health care bill.

“If that kid had done to me what he did to Greg, I would have shot him,” Marshall told the “Voices of Montana” radio show in 2017.

During the 2018 midterm elections, Trump praised Gianforte for the assault during a campaign rally in Missoula.

Trump admitted, “I shouldn’t say this.”

Gianforte, one of the richest members of Congress and a major donor to conservative causes in Montana, remains in good standing with local Republicans, despite pleading guilty to assault before being sworn into Congress.

In contrast to the response to Gianforte body-slamming a journalist, the state party is distancing itself from Garcia’s comments to fellow Republicans.

“The Montana Republican Party wholeheartedly condemns the comment that was made and under no circumstance is violence against someone with opposing political views acceptable,” according to Spenser Merwin, the MT GOP executive director.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close