Trump praises U.S. congressman from Montana who body-slammed reporter

Jon Testor

Jon Testor

Gianforte - who represents the state's single at-large district - pleaded guilty in court past year to a charge of misdemeanor assault and is seeking reelection in November. "There's nothing to be embarrassed about", Trump said. Trump said. "He's a great guy".

Representative Greg Gianforte threw a Guardian reporter past year and repeatedly punched him.

Trump said Thursday "it certainly looks" like Khashoggi is dead. "And we endorsed Greg very early".

Trump referenced Mr Gianforte again later in the rally when discussing former Vice President Joe Biden, who once said he would "beat the hell out of" Trump if they were in high school. But I heard that he body-slammed a reporter.

He was ordered to pay $385 (£304), complete 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management counselling.

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The assault happened while Gianforte was campaigning to become a Montana congressman; he won the election the day after the assault.

During his Thursday night Montana rally, President Donald Trump praised Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte for assaulting a reporter- even while we are in the midst of unanswered question about missing Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Despite the negative publicity, Gianforte went on to defeat Democrat Rob Quist by six percentage points in the Republican-leaning district.

"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", he said, referring to the amendment to the United States constitution that guarantees freedom of the press.

In a statement, the Guardian's US editor John Mulholland said he hoped the president would apologise for his comments, adding: "To celebrate an attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job is an attack on the first amendment [of the US Constitution] by someone who has taken an oath to defend it".

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