Greg Gianforte, the Montana Republican candidate charged with assaulting a reporter, has not quite reached retirement age. But based on what he has said in the past, he may never stop working anyway.
In a 2015 talk at the Montana Bible College, Gianforte said the idea of retirement doesn’t exactly match his religious beliefs.
“There’s nothing in the Bible that talks about retirement. And yet it’s been an accepted concept in our culture today,” he said at the time, according to a report in the Huffington Post. “Nowhere does it say, ‘Well, he was a good and faithful servant, so he went to the beach.’ It doesn’t say that anywhere.”
Gianforte, who is now 56, was then a potential candidate for governor of Montana. The tech entrepreneur – Gianforte founded a software company that was later sold to Oracle – had been traveling the state to promote the benefits of telecommuting.
“How old was Noah when he built the ark? 600,” he said. “He wasn’t like, cashing Social Security checks, he wasn’t hanging out, he was working. So, I think we have an obligation to work. The role we have in work may change over time, but the concept of retirement is not biblical.”
Gianforte made headlines Wednesday after he allegedly “body-slammed” Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the Guardian who asked him about the Republican health-care bill.
In a recording posted online by the Guardian, Gianforte can be heard telling Jacobs “Get the hell out of here!” after an apparent altercation. Three newspapers in Montana rescinded their endorsements of Gianforte, who is running in a special election for a congressional seat, after the incident. Gianforte has denied any wrongdoing.
The candidate has a history of making controversial comments. For example, he drew criticism in 2014 for remarks about an LGBTQ anti-discrimination bill.
Despite the 2015 remarks about Noah, Gianforte has suggested in his campaign materials that he would not interfere with other people’s retirement plans. On his campaign website, Gianforte wrote that he would work to “protect and secure” Social Security and Medicare if elected to Congress. “I’ll stop the Washington politicians from cutting the retirement benefits Montana seniors earned,” the website reads.
A spokesman for Gianforte did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.