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Trump Praises Montana GOP Congressman for Body Slamming Reporter
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=492"><span class="small">Ed Pilkington, Guardian UK</span></a>   
Friday, 19 October 2018 08:22

Pilkington writes: "Donald Trump has praised Greg Gianforte, the Congress member from Montana, for violently attacking a Guardian reporter, saying that someone who performs a body slam is 'my guy.'"

Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. (photo: Reuters)
Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. (photo: Reuters)

Trump Praises Montana GOP Congressman for Body Slamming Reporter

By Ed Pilkington, Guardian UK

19 October 18

President’s comments at Montana rally in praise of violence against US journalist come amid international outcry over Khashoggi

onald Trump has praised Greg Gianforte, the Congress member from Montana, for violently attacking a Guardian reporter, saying that someone who performs a body slam is “my guy”.

Trump described in glowing terms the physical assault that occurred on 24 May 2017 when Ben Jacobs, the Guardian’s political correspondent, asked Gianforte a question about healthcare policy in the course of a special congressional election in Montana. The US president incited cheers and chants from a crowd of about 8,000 supporters on Thursday night when he said: “Greg is smart. And by the way, never wrestle him. You understand. Never.”

Trump’s comments mark the first time the president has openly and directly praised a violent act against a journalist on American soil. It comes as the White House is under intense domestic and international pressure over Trump’s refusal to condemn Saudi Arabia despite growing evidence that its leader, the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, ordered the decapitation and dismemberment of the journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi.

Hours before the “Make America Great Again” rally in Missoula, Trump said he believed that Khashoggi was probably dead but held back from an outright condemnation of the Saudi regime.

Giving his first detailed account of the Gianforte attack on Jacobs, Trump went on to tell the Missoula crowd that he had learned of the incident while he was in Rome in a gathering of world leaders. He expressed his immediate dismay.

“We endorsed Greg very early. But I heard that he body-slammed a reporter. This was the day of the election or just before, and I thought, ‘Oh, this is terrible! He’s going to lose the election.’”

Trump continued: “And then I said, ‘Wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well, I think it might help him.’ And it did.”

The line prompted another massive cheer from the Montana crowd.

The US president finished his account of the physical assault by saying of Gianforte: “He’s a great guy. Tough cookie.”

The campaign for Kathleen Williams, Gianforte’s Democratic opponent in the November congressional election, released a new ad in response to Trump’s comments.

In an statement, the campaign said “Gianforte’s assault and lies are not who we are as Montanans”.

Trump’s relationship with the US and international media has become increasingly belligerent since his presidential victory in 2016. As he does at all his rallies, Trump pointed to the assembled media on Thursday night in Missoula and lambasted them as purveyors of “fake news”.

But he has never before gone so far as to laud and condone physical violence against an American reporter working in the country. And his comments fall uneasily at a time when he has begun to shift his position over the apparent murder of Khashoggi, a US resident who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

Video and audio recordings have implicated a team of Saudi nationals, several of whom have close ties to the Saudi crown prince.

A crew of Fox News reporters witnessed the attack on the Guardian’s correspondent in Bozeman. According to their first-hand account, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands as the reporter was posing questions to him.

The crew wrote: “He then slammed [Jacobs] into the ground behind him. [We] watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter.”

Jacobs was taken by ambulance to a hospital and treated for an elbow injury.

Gianforte pleaded guilty to a charge of assault and was sentenced to four days in jail as a misdemeanor. The sentence was later changed to 40 hours of community service, a fine and a compulsory anger-management course.

In a statement, the Guardian US editor, John Mulholland, said: “The president of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian. 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.

“In the aftermath of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it runs the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists both here and across the world where they often face far greater threats. We hope decent people will denounce these comments and that the president will see fit to apologize for them.”

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+12 # BetaTheta 2018-10-19 09:43
Montana needs to send multi-millionai re Gianforte back to his mansion. He is NOT qualified to serve as a public servant.
+4 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2018-10-19 11:26
Quoting BetaTheta:
Montana needs to send multi-millionaire Gianforte back to his mansion. He is NOT qualified to serve as a public servant.
Even more pressing, the United States Congress needs to send Trump back to ordinary citizenship so he can be prosecuted for literally hundreds of crimes against the Constitution and American citizens.
+3 # 1dfnslblty 2018-10-19 12:45
Not only the state ~ usa needs to dismiss potus for such violent and anti-informatio nal reäctions; these are not public servants. They’re violent and ignorant bullies who would face jail or prison if they were not entitled autocrats.
+2 # vt143 2018-10-19 10:28
Really, what do we expect from Trump, who is developmentally stuck in the 9-10 year old age group.
+1 # Skeeziks 2018-10-19 10:43
Looks as though Trumpists know how to get on Trump's good side. Whether they know it or not.
My goodness!!! Maybe we should be called U.S.R.SA

United States of Russia Saudi Arabia
+3 # indian weaving 2018-10-19 11:01
Why hasn't Trump been indicted for "Incitement to Violence" yet? What is this judicial cowardice all about? Are no honest, tough prosecutors extant in Amerikkka? Don't we have a Michael Avenatti as any judge anywhere that has jurisdiction and standing to indict this criminal? Have we lost the judiciary in the USA? Considering the Supreme Court and Kavanaugh, I'd say the evidence is damning.
+4 # Harvard72 2018-10-19 11:17
PLEASE: These statements by Trump in print and on tape must be used in eventual impeachment proceedings. The encouragement of literal violence against reporters cannot be tolerated. There should be NO ONE supporting Trump. And, I am sorry, but how is a rational person outside of Montana to excuse or even understand the people who loudly cheer the ignorant oaf?