Trump hails body slamming Congressman Greg Gianforte in Montana

Trump hails body slamming Congressman Greg Gianforte in Montana

Trump hails body slamming Congressman Greg Gianforte in Montana

During a rally in Montana on Thursday evening, Trump hyped Gianforte, who pled guilty to assaulting Ben Jacobs, a reporter at The Guardian.

"Let me just say on behalf of all of Montana, Mr. President, thank you for giving us hope again", said Gianforte at a rally in Missoula, Montana.

The response came after the United States president drew cheers from the crowd at a rally by hailing Greg Gianforte, a Congress member for Montana, for having assaulted Ben Jacobs, the Guardian's political correspondent, in May previous year.

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"I was in Rome with leaders when I heard about it, and I heard that he body-slammed a reporter", Trump said. "I shouldn't say that, but there's nothing to be embarrassed about".

"Then I said, wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well, I think it might help him, and it did", Trump added.

"He's a great guy, tough cookie", he said.

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Rep Gianforte pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in June 2017 and said in an apology letter that he alone was responsible for the attack. "We should never shrug at the president cheerleading for a violent act targeting a free and independent news media".

Other journalists, editors and rights groups also berated Trump for praising Gianforte Thursday night.

Trump's comments come amid an investigation into the presumed murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istambul more than two weeks ago.

Gianforte later apologized to Jacobs, donated $50,000 to the Committee To Protect Journalists, paid a fine and served 40 hours of community service. "At Montana rally, Trump praises congressman for assaulting reporter", tweeted Jeff Sachs.

Journalists from the USA and around the world were quick to express solidarity with the Guardian and condemned Trump's comments as "shocking" and those of a "psychopath".

While outrage over Trump's remarks erupted on social media.

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