Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Trump praises congressman who assaulted reporter

Trump praises congressman who assaulted reporter

US President Donald Trump on Thursday praised a US congressman who assaulted a reporter, making light of the attack.

At a campaign rally in Missoula, Mr Trump lauded Representative Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanour assault for an attack on Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.

He was sentenced to a 180-day deferred sentence, 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management and a US$300 fine.

Gianforte was captured on an audio recording physically assaulting Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the Guardian newspaper.

"Any guy that can do a body slam - he's my kind of guy", Trump said to cheers and laughter from the crowd. "I think it's pretty evident", he said.

Trump recalled that he was in Rome at the time of the incident, and he shared his initial thoughts: "This was awful".

"Any guy that can do a my guy", Trump told supporters at the rally, adding that he was concerned at first that the incident would jeopardize Gianforte's campaign.

Gianforte won by a six-point margin in 2017, but still faces re-election this year.

Other Twitter users expressed shock, one even calling Trump's comments akin to "a thumbs up to Saudi Arabia" following its suspected murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi is a Saudi native and legal USA resident who lived in Virginia. Turkish authorities say that he was murdered in the consulate, and his apparent grisly killing has turned attention to the US relationship to the regime of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi officials have denied his disappearance was a result of foul-play on their part.

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