After President Donald Trump applauded a congressman for body slamming a reporter last year, the editor from the journalist’s outlet delivered a scathing statement calling for the president to apologize while invoking the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
During Thursday’s campaign rally in Montana, Trump riffed on Rep. Greg Gianforte’s assault of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in May 2017. The president told the crowd how he was worried at the time that Gianforte may lose the special election over the altercation but realized that he knew Montana well and “it might help him.”
“And it did,” he added.
Here's the video of Trump on Greg Gianforte body slamming Ben Jacobs: "Any guy that can do a body slam, he's my kind of guy." pic.twitter.com/8tWxLXE6Jx
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 19, 2018
Despite the fact that Gianforte eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, Trump praised the Montana lawmaker for attacking Jacobs. “Any guy that can do a body slam — he’s my kind of guy,” the president said while miming a bodyslam.
Shortly after the rally, Guardian US editor John Mulholland released a statement condemning the leader of the free world for celebrating an assault of a reporter.
Guardian US editor issues statement responding to Trump: “The President of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian.” pic.twitter.com/sSwUiBQo2J
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) October 19, 2018
“The President of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian,” Mulholland wrote. “To celebrate the attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job is an attack on the First Amendment by someone who has taken an oath to defend it.”
The editor pointed out that in the aftermath of Khashoggi’s murder, the president’s actions “run the risk” of placing more journalists at risk of danger. “We hope decent people will denounce these comments and that the President will see fit to apologize for them,” he concluded.
Perhaps we’re cynics, but we doubt the man who has repeatedly labeled the free press the “enemy of the people” is going to change course after receiving some stern words from a journalist. But good for Mulholland to stand up for his reporter, which is what any good editor would do.