‘Tough cookie, my guy!’: Trump praises Montana Congressman who body-slammed reporter

Trump had barely taken off from Montana on Thursday, before Williams' campaign team released a video featuring audio recording of Gianforte's attack on Jacobs.

The White House Correspondents Association on Friday condemned President Donald Trump's praise for a lawmaker's assault on a reporter, one of several groups representing journalists to denounce the president's latest affront to the First Amendment.

Most of the sane watching world probably agree that body-slamming reporters when you're a politician running for office ain't all that hilarious, but you're going to struggle to find sanity at a Trump rally. "He is my guy", Trump said.

The President said he was in Rome with other world leaders when he heard about what had happened.

"That's really why I'm here", Trump said.

"I shouldn't say this", he said, then adding "there's nothing to be embarrassed about". "He's a great guy and a tough cookie", Trump added.

Trump, amid outcry over missing Saudi journalist, praises GOP congressman for body slamming reporter - Los Ang
Trump praises Republican congressman for body slamming journalist

While oblique, the criticism is relatively strong by the standards of Downing Street, which generally tries to play down condemnation of Trump's often erratic behaviour, mindful of wider UK-US ties as well as the president's promises about a post-Brexit trade deal.

After his election in May 2017, Mr Gianforte was sentenced to serve 40 hours of community service and attend 20 hours of anger management classes for throwing the reporter to the ground and breaking his glasses.

"One can hardly fathom the twisted psyche of a president who, after acknowledging that Jamal Khashoggi, a contributing columnist for The Post's Global Opinions, had likely been murdered, would go before a cheering mob to lavish praise on a US congressman who physically attacked a journalist", Rubin wrote.

He said the incident "runs the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists", coming at the same time as the alleged killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Naturally, the Guardian wasn't pleased with Trump's words, with the newspaper's USA editor saying Trump's remarks run "the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists both here and across the world".

"The president of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian. We should never shrug at the president cheerleading for a violent act targeting a free and independent news media".

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