The Latest: Association chides Trump for praising Gianforte

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., is greeted on stage by President Donald Trump during a campaign rally at Minuteman Aviation Hangar, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Missoula, Mont. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s praise of a congressman who body-slammed a reporter before his election last year (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

The White House Correspondents’ Association is accusing President Donald Trump of celebrating a crime when he praised a Republican Montana congressman who body-slammed a reporter before his election last year.

WHCA president Olivier Knox said Friday in a statement, “All Americans should recoil from the president’s praise for a violent assault on a reporter doing his Constitutionally protected job.”

Knox says Trump’s praise of Rep. Greg Gianforte (jee-an-FOR’-tay) “amounts to the celebration of a crime by someone sworn to uphold our laws” and an attack on the First Amendment by someone who has pledged to defend it.

Trump told a rally crowd on Thursday night, “Any guy that can do a body slam — he’s my kind of guy.” Trump calls Gianforte “a great guy.”

Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault for the attack.


1:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is defending a Republican congressman, Greg Gianforte (jee-an-FOR’-tay), who pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter last year.

Here’s what Trump said at a campaign rally in Montana on Thursday: “Any guy that can do a body slam — he’s my kind of guy.”

Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs says Gianforte “body slammed” him for asking a question in May 2017 — the day before Gianforte won a special election for Montana’s only U.S. House seat.

Gianforte initially told police that Jacobs instigated the attack but later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and said Jacobs did nothing wrong.

Gianforte is being challenged in November’s election by former state legislator Kathleen Williams.

Trump called Gianforte a “great guy,” a “tough cookie.”

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