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Trump Calls Montana Politician Who Attacked a Reporter ‘My Kind of Guy’ (Video)

Rep. Greg Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs

Donald Trump praised the Montana congressman who attacked a reporter in 2017 as “my kind of guy” at a rally on Thursday.

“By the way, never wrestle him,” Trump said of Montana Republican Greg Gianforte. “You understand that? Never. Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of guy. He’s my guy.” Trump also mimed a body slam, to loud cheers and laughter from the audience.

Last year, during the special election to replace Republican Ryan Zinke, who stepped down to become Secretary of the Interior, Gianforte had a confrontation with Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs at his campaign headquarters. According to Jacobs and two other witnesses, Gianforte “bodyslammed” the reporter after being asked about the Republicans’ healthcare plan.

Gianforte downplayed the extent of the violence but eventually apologized. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and received a community service sentence two weeks after the incident. He also won the special election handily.

And on Thursday, Trump suggested that his victory was thanks in part to the attack. “We endorsed Greg very early, but I had heard that he body slammed a reporter. And he was way up, and this was like the day of the election or just before, and I said ‘Oh, this is terrible, he’s gonna lose the election.’ Then I said, ‘Wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well. I think it might help him.’ And it did.”

That last line got big applause and cheers.

See the clip below.