Santorum Criticizes Trump's Gianforte Praise: 'This Is Not Helpful, It's Not Good'

Geraldine Edwards
October 20, 2018

Detailing his early and enthusiastic support for Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.)-who pleaded guilty to assault after he body-slammed Jacobs the day before last May's special election and went on to win anyway-Trump said he initially anxious that the Republican's attack on a reporter would hurt his chances in the race.

But as he left Washington to travel to the rally on Thursday, Mr Trump warned of "very severe" consequences for the apparent killing. "I shouldn't say that, but there's nothing to be embarrassed about". "He's going to lose the election", Trump recalled. It's unclear what they did to infuriate Gianforte, but initial statements, issued by the congressman's team after the incident, said that Jacobs "aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg's face".

"Greg is smart", Mr Trump said of Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte, adding "by the way never wrestle him".

Gianforte later apologized to Jacobs, donated $50,000 to the Committee To Protect Journalists, paid a fine and served 40 hours of community service.

"I don't think the President should be praising that", Santorum told CNN on Friday.

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

Gianforte, who is up for re-election in November, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in June 2017 and said in an apology letter that he alone was responsible for the attack.

"I said: 'Oh, this is bad, he's going to lose the election.' Then I said: 'Well, wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well, I think it might help him, ' and it did", Trump said. Days after the writer #Khashoggi was murdered, he praises a congressman who physically attacked a reporter.

He added: "We hope decent people will denounce these comments and tht the president will see fit to apologise for them".

So a politician attacks and assaults a journalist, and then more than a year later, Trump arrives in Montana and raves about it.

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It's no secret that Donald Trump doesn't hold journalism in high esteem.

He called Gianforte "a great guy, tough cookie".

The literary organization PEN America filed a lawsuit this week alleging that Trump's actions against media organizations have "violated the First Amendment and his oath to uphold the Constitution".

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

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