President Trump joked Thursday about an incident last year involving Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., in which he slammed a reporter to the ground, saying that any person who can “do a body slam” is “my kind of guy.”
“Never wrestle him, you understand that? Never,” Trump told a crowd during a rally in Missoula, Mont. “Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of guy.”
The incident with Gianforte and Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian, occurred in May 2017, the night before Montana’s special election to fill the state’s congressional seat.
Gianforte body-slammed Jacobs to the ground after the reporter asked him about the Republicans’ healthcare plan.
The Republican congressman pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was ordered to pay $385 in fines, serve 40 hours of community service, and complete 20 hours of anger management.
Trump endorsed Gianforte in the special election and recalled he was visiting Rome when he heard of the incident.
“I said, ‘Oh, this is terrible. He’s going to lose the election,’” the president recalled. “Then I said, ‘Well wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well. I think it might help him.’ And it did.”
Trump went on to call Gianforte a “great guy” and a “tough cookie.”
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