Trump praises USA congressman from Montana who body-slammed reporter

Nicola Sturgeon may have more credibility than some political rivals but she has made some missteps

Nicola Sturgeon may have more credibility than some political rivals but she has made some missteps

President Donald Trump - known for his contentious relationship with the press - joked Thursday that GOP Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte's assault of a British reporter helped the lawmaker win his 2017 special election. "I think it might help him.' And it did", Trump said.

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.

Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in June 2017 for assaulting Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the Guardian. He also wrote a letter of apology in which he acknowledged assaulting Jacobs for asking "a legitimate question about health care policy".

The next day, Mr Gianforte won a special election for Montana's US House seat.

Trump said he originally thought the assault - which took place on the eve of his election - might hurt Gianforte's chances.

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Trump said Thursday "it certainly looks" like Khashoggi is dead.

After shaking his hand and walking back up to the podium, Trump told the crowd: "Never wrestle him".

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

Trump was here, in one of the state's few liberal bastions, to campaign for Republican Senate nominee Matt Rosendale, who is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. "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".

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.

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