On Thursday night, President Donald Trump joked about and lauded Montana Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte for physically attacking a journalist during his campaign in May 2017.

“Any guy who can do a body slam… that’s my guy,” Trump said at a rally in Montana. “I shouldn’t say this,” he added. “There’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”

In June 2017, Gianforte pled guilty to misdemeanor assault following his conviction for “body-slamming” Ben Jacobs, a reporter from The Guardian. The congressman was forced to complete 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management and also paid $385 in fines and court fees.

Trump told the crowd in Montana he learned about the incident involving Gianforte while he was in Europe, and admitted he was worried at first that the congressman’s chances at re-election would decrease after the assault.

“Then I said, well wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well, I think it might help him. And it did,” Trump added as his supporters laughed, cheered and applauded. The president also referred to Gianforte as a “tough cookie.”

Gianforte was ultimately elected and apologized to Jacobs in his acceptance speech.


Trump’s remarks came just as his administration is dealing with the fallout from the disappearance and alleged murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist whom Trump said he believed may have been assassinated by “rogue killers.”

On Thursday, the president stated “it certainly looks like” Khashoggi is dead. However, Trump added he is “waiting for the results” of inquiries led by Turkish and Saudi authorities and said the Saudi government should absolutely face the consequences if it is found to have played a role in the journalist’s death.

At Thursday’s rally, Trump also told the crowd this year’s midterm elections are a choice between law and order brought by Republicans and “mobs” of Democrats.

Trump also took aim at Joe Biden: he mentioned the time the former vice president said he wished he could take Trump “behind the gym” to fight him.

“How about sleepy Joe Biden? Sleepy Joe. Remember he challenged me to a fight and that was fine,” Trump told his supporters. “And when I said he wouldn’t last long — he’d be down faster than Greg would take him down, he’d be down so fast, remember? Faster than Greg — I’d have to go very fast, I’d have to immediately connect.”


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