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so presidential
October 19, 2018

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."

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

August 26, 2018

Despite urging by White House senior aides, President Trump said no to releasing a statement praising Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) after his death on Saturday, The Washington Post reports.

McCain died at age 81, one year after announcing he had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. He was a former Vietnam War POW, served in the Senate for decades, and was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly both said there should be an official statement calling him a "hero," several aides told the Post, but Trump said he just wanted to tweet out his official response.

His tweet was simple, reading: "My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!" The message Sanders and Kelly wanted to release was written before McCain's death, and edited on Saturday, the Post reports. Trump and McCain did not have a good relationship, with Trump once saying he likes people "that weren't captured" and calling McCain "not a war hero"; McCain, for his part, was a vocal critic of Trump's domestic and foreign policy and earned Trump's rage by voting against a bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act.

Trump's rejection of a formal statement means nothing to McCain's friend and former aide John Weaver, who told the Post it "certainly doesn't bother me or the people I know close to John. I don't think it bothers John one bit. If we heard something today or tomorrow from Trump, we know it'd mean less than a degree from Trump University." Catherine Garcia

December 12, 2017

President Trump took to Twitter Tuesday to attack Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), suggesting she had a history of trading favors for campaign donations.

A number of Twitter users were quick to point out that the president's tweet was loaded with unsavory implications.

Gillibrand, who on Monday called for Trump to resign over the numerous allegations of sexual assault and harassment made against him, did indeed take some money from Trump before he ran for office. In 2010, Gillibrand's campaign raised more than $13 million, and Politico's Kyle Cheney points out that Trump donated $4,800. In 2014, his daughter Ivanka Trump donated $2,000.

Gillibrand was apparently in the middle of a "bipartisan bible study group" when she heard about Trump's tweet. Fifty minutes later, she fired back. Kelly O'Meara Morales

January 3, 2017

A senior U.S. intelligence official says there's at least one major error in Donald Trump's latest tweet aimed at the intelligence community.

On Tuesday night, Trump diluted his suspicions surrounding foreign interference with the presidential election into a 140-character message, tweeting: "The 'intelligence' briefing on so-called 'Russian hacking' was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!" The problem, the intelligence official told NBC News, is that reports stating Trump was to be briefed in New York City by the CIA, NSA, and FBI heads on Wednesday were false — the meeting was always scheduled for Friday. The tweet is not only "disturbing" and "adversarial," the official told NBC News, but Trump is "calling out the men and women of the intelligence community the way he called out Lockheed and Boeing, but these are public servants."

Trump knows a thing or two about delays — on Dec. 12, he announced he was postponing until January a press conference slated for Dec. 15, where he was supposed to reveal his plans for dealing with conflicts of interest during his presidency (he will allegedly hold a "general news conference" next week). The country is also still waiting for an address from his wife, Melania, that was promised in August; Trump said at the time she would "over the next couple of weeks" hold a press conference to discuss reports that she violated immigration laws when she first arrived in the United States (Melania did release a letter from her attorney on her Twitter page in September, but never spoke about the allegations). Catherine Garcia

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