Trump celebrated Rep. Greg Gianforte’s (R-Mont.) May 2017 attack on Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs during a rally in Missoula, Montana, on Thursday.
“Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of guy,” Trump told the crowd.
Following the 2017 attack, Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault.
Trump’s quip was immediately condemned on Twitter, with many commenters noting how it came amid tensions rising over the disappearance of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi:
This was a crime. Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault for that body slam of a reporter. Sentenced to community service, treatment for anger management and fined. https://t.co/jGjmK24eZZ
— Steve Thomma (@stevethomma) October 19, 2018
This is shocking and chilling, especially in light of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi: Trump has praised Congressman Greg Gianforte for his violent assault on a Guardian reporter: https://t.co/k6KcqTW11d
— Katharine Viner (@KathViner) October 19, 2018
Ready for this? Trump just hit a new low. While at his #MAGAmob rally tonight he praised GOP Rep Gianforte’s body slam of a journalist. He’s applauding the assault of a journalist. WaPo journalist Jamal Khashoggi was just assassinated. He’s giving a thumbs up to Saudi Arabia.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) October 19, 2018
Amazing, after calling Dems the party of mobs and violence, Trump is now praising and complimenting Greg Gianforte for “body slamming” @Bencjacobs
— Sam Stein (@samstein) October 19, 2018
The US has slipped two years ago and is in free fall – #Trump now praises a physical assault against a US @guardian reporter, possibly instigating madmen and rulers around the world to do the same and worse. Black day for the free press. #endarkenment https://t.co/2kPoMTQIeT
— Christian Schwägerl (@chrschwaegerl) October 19, 2018
Trump has praised Congress member from Montana who violently attacked a reporter as “my guy”. Is it any wonder he defends #Saudi regime which is suspected of killing journalist #JamalKhashoggi? Remember he has described media as “enemies of the people” https://t.co/okAFQgAma6
— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) October 19, 2018
And Gianforte and his staff lied about the incident to smear Ben. Only reason Gianforte got caught is because there was a tape. Nothing tough about jumping a reporter for asking you a substantive question. Just unhinged. https://t.co/nM4gvSNgnh
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) October 19, 2018
Trump going on riff about Greg Gianforte’s assault of a reporter: “Don’t wrestle him. Any guy who can do a body slam is my kind of guy.”
— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) October 19, 2018