Republican Greg Gianforte won Montana's special congressional election a day after being charged with assault for "body slamming" a reporter. But that did not cause him to lose the support of Donald Trump, who praised the win.
While many Americans might be rightfully horrified that Montana Republican Greg Gianforte assaulted a reporter, which he admitted only after he won Thursday’s special election, Donald Trump is still an enthusiastic supporter.
According to NBC News national correspondent Peter Alexander, Trump offered unsolicited praise of Gianforte’s win during a G7 event in Italy, giving a thumbs up and saying to the camera, “Great win in Montana.”
Trump had recorded a robocall on Gianforte’s behalf, in which he called Gianforte “my friend” and “a wonderful guy.” Trump made the the recording before Gianforte violently assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, but that assault apparently did not change Trump’s opinion of the man.
And why should it? Throughout his campaign, Trump relentlessly attacked the media, referring to reporters — sometimes by name — as his opposition and the enemy. As president, he has continued his verbal assault on the press, describing it as “the enemy of the American people.”
He has also lavished praise on dictators who oppress and punish the press in their own countries. If anything, Gianforte’s attack on a reporter might have given Trump a renewed respect and admiration for the man.
Trump’s praise for the newly elected congressman who has been charged with assault is the latest in a series of awkward, embarrassing, and insulting moments before the world’s leaders, during Trump’s first international trip as president.
Only a couple days into his trip, Trump had to cancel an appearance at a Twitter forum in Saudi Arabia that he was scheduled to host because he was “exhausted.” While traveling to Israel, Trump’s secretary of state told reporters Trump would not be apologizing to Israel for sharing its classified information with Russia.
During a meeting with European Union leaders in Brussels, Trump complained about Germany’s trade policies and said, “The Germans are very, very evil.” He threatened to block Germany from exporting its cars to the United States.
During an address to NATO, Trump again exposed his ignorance about how the alliance works, saying other world leaders are “still not paying what they should be paying.” That claim has been repeatedly debunked.
Trump returns to the United States this weekend, where he will undoubtedly continue to embarrass himself and the country for all the world to see. But the other world leaders he has managed to insult throughout his trip will likely be glad to not have a front-row seat to his behavior.