White House Press Group Chides Trump for ‘Body Slam’ Comment

‘Any guy who can do a body slam — he’s my guy,’ Trump said in support of Rep. Greg Gianforte

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., waves to constituents at the Crow Fair in Crow Agency, Mont., on Aug. 18. Gianforte was convicted of assaulting a reporter last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House Correspondents’ Association has formally criticized President Donald Trump for his comments Thursday evening in Montana promoting the physical assault of a reporter by Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte.

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

“This 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 solemnly pledged to defend it,” said Knox, the chief Washington correspondent for SiriusXM radio. “We should never shrug at the president cheerleading for a violent act targeting a free and independent news media.”

At a rally in Missoula, Trump said, “Any guy who can do a body slam — he’s my guy.”

The president was praising Gianforte for the altercation last year in which he assaulted Ben C. Jacobs of The Guardian when Jacobs was attempting to ask questions during the candidate’s campaign for the at-large House seat in Montana.

Watch: House GOP Candidates Are Shying Away From Trump as Midterm Nears

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