While in Montana on Thursday, President Trump applauded the state's Republican congressman, Greg Gianforte, for assaulting a journalist last year, saying that "any guy that can do a body slam ... he's my guy."
Here's the video of Trump on Greg Gianforte body slamming Ben Jacobs: "Any guy that can do a body slam, he's my kind of guy." pic.twitter.com/8tWxLXE6Jx
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 19, 2018
In May 2017, Gianforte was running in a special election for Montana's at-large congressional district, and Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs asked him a question about the Republican health-care plan. Gianforte then body-slammed Jacobs, who was treated for an elbow injury. Gianforte pleaded guilty to a charge of assault, and served 40 hours of community service, paid a fine, and had to take anger management classes.
Trump told a rally crowd that Gianforte is "smart," a "great guy," and a "tough cookie." He said when he learned about Gianforte assaulting Jacobs, he thought he would lose the election, "and then I said, 'Wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well, I think it might help him.' And it did."
Trump's approval of physical violence against a journalist comes as he's being accused of providing cover for Saudi Arabia in the case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Guardian US editor John Mulholland derided Trump's comments, saying, "To celebrate an attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job is an attack on the First Amendment by someone who has taken an oath to defend it." He called on "decent people" to "denounce these comments" and said he hopes "the president will see fit to apologize for them." Catherine Garcia