Trump praise for attack on Guardian reporter criticised by Downing Street

Glen Norman
October 19, 2018

Gianforte is running for re-election as the state's lone seat in the House of Representatives, and made national headlines during a special election for assaulting a reporter in a moment caught on audio tape.

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

During a Thursday night rally for Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT), President Donald Trump recalled the congressman's assault of a journalist amid cheers from a supportive crowd. "I know Montana pretty well", Trump said. "Any guy who can do a body slam, he's my kind of guy", Trump said, to cheers from the crowd.

Gianforte, who won the election, pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter.

But as he left Washington to travel to the rally on Thursday, Mr Trump warned of "very severe" consequences for the apparent killing.

His remarks praising Mr Gianforte come amid an worldwide furore over the apparent assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who allegedly had his fingers cut off and was decapitated inside a Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.

This is the first time as president that Trump has openly and directly praised a violent act against a journalist on American soil, although he commonly attacks what he calls the "fake news" media, such as CNN and NBC.

Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia and its leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reportedly feared that his native county would retaliate against him.

"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", Mulholland added.

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