President Trump Praises Congressman’s Journalist Assault While Mourning Khashoggi Death

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On a day when President Donald Trump lamented the apparent death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, he also joked about an assault on another scribe. The latter happened on US soil and involved an American politician.

Speaking at a Make America Great Again rally tonight in Missoula, Montana, the president praised Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte and recounted his assault on Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.

“Greg is smart, and by the way, never wrestle him,” Trump joked at the rally after Gianforte made brief remarks. “You understand that? Never. Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of…” Trump mimicked a wrestling move. “He’s my guy.”  The crowd ate it up.

The Gianforte assault saw the Congressman sentenced to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management classes. He pleaded guilty to violently assaulting Jacobs on May 24, 2017, the night before his election to the House of Representatives.

“So I was in Rome, with a lot of the leaders from other countries, talking about all sorts of things, and I heard about it. And we endorsed Greg very early, but I had heard that he had body-slammed a reporter,” Trump said. “And he was way up, and I said, this was like the day of the election or just before, and I said, ‘Oh, this is terrible, he’s going to lose the election.’ And then I said, ‘Well, wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well. I think it might help him, and it did.”

Trump concluded by calling Gianforte a “tough cookie.” Gianforte won handily over his Democratic opponent, Rob Quist, by 50.2 percent to 44.1 percent.

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