At a campaign rally last night in Montana, Donald Trump praised the state’s lone congressman, Rep. Greg Gianforte, for his now-infamous physical assault on journalist Ben Jacobs of The Guardian in the spring of 2017.
Via ABC News:
“Any guy that can do a body slam, he is my type!” Trump said to cheers.
“I was in Rome with leaders when I heard about it, and I heard that he body-slammed a reporter,” Trump said.
Trump said he was afraid Gianforte would lose after the moment, but then recalled, “Wait a moment, I know Montana.”
Gianforte pleaded guilty and was sentenced to community service for the incident. He apologized on the night of his election victory, saying, “When you make a mistake you have to own it.”
Journalists everywhere were justified in their horror at an American president cheering on physical violence against a reporter.
This comes after Trump has spent days defending the Saudi Arabian government amid mounting evidence they were involved in the disappearance of Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi.
WATCH: During Montana rally, President Trump references Rep. Greg Gianforte’s assault of reporter Ben Jacobs: “Any guy that can do a body slam … he’s my guy.” pic.twitter.com/1bupNPtOzg
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 19, 2018
The disturbing part of Trump’s jokes about Gianforte was the effect on the crowd. I saw one young man in the crowd making body slam gestures. He looked at me and ran his thumb across his throat. I talked to him after the rally was over. He couldn’t stop laughing.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) October 19, 2018
Trump’s comments mark the first time the president has openly and directly praised a violent act against a journalist on American soil. https://t.co/z72ZgUeyNo
— Sheryl Gay Stolberg (@SherylNYT) October 19, 2018
Trump on Gianforte’s assault of @Bencjacobs — “I think it might help him, and it did.”
Big cheers in crowd as Trump mentions a reporter getting assaulted. Wow.
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) October 19, 2018
Guardian US editor issues statement responding to Trump: “The President of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian.” pic.twitter.com/sSwUiBQo2J
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) October 19, 2018