Donald Trump under fire for praising assault on Guardian journalist

President Donald Trump and Montana Republican Senate candidate Matt Rosendale at a July 5 campaign rally in Great Falls MT

The president praised Rep. Greg Gianforte - who came under fire previous year for assaulting a reporter.

Trump recalled hearing about the incident while he was in Rome, and Gianforte was pulling ahead in the polls.

Trump said "Any guy that can do a body slam. he's my guy", at a rally in Montana. "And then I said, 'Wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well, I think it might help him.' And it did".

Mr Gianforte pleaded guilty to assault after he body-slammed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs for asking a question on healthcare legislation.

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

"Any guy that can do a body slam, he is my type!"

"Whatever the cause, if you are falsely smearing a missing man, trying to diminish the horror of a thuggish regime's alleged gruesome murder or yukking it up with a president celebrating violence against a reporter, it's time to rethink your politics", she concluded.




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. "He'd be down, faster than Greg would take him down", Trump said.

"We endorsed Greg very early".

"The president of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian".

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.

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.

Journalists from the US and around the world were quick to express solidarity with the Guardian and condemned Trump's comments as "shocking" and those of a "psychopath". "President Trump should use his platform to condemn press freedom abuses at home and overseas, not cheer on physical assaults of reporters".

The Guardian US editor John Mulholland took aim at Trump's remarks.

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