‘of which’s My Kind of Guy,’ Trump Says of Republican Lawmaker Who Body-Slammed a Reporter

MISSOULA, Mont. — President Trump praised a Republican candidate’s assault last year on a reporter in addition to also fumed over his Democratic opponents here on Thursday night in a freewheeling rally meant to mobilize his base’s support inside coming midterm elections.

In urging the crowd to vote for Representative Greg Gianforte, who will be running for re-election in addition to also who was sentenced to anger management classes in addition to also community service for assaulting a reporter last spring, Mr. Trump jokingly warned the crowd to “never wrestle him.”

“I had heard he body-slammed a reporter,” Mr. Trump said, noting of which he was initially concerned of which Mr. Gianforte could lose in a special election last May. “I said, ‘Wait a minute. I know Montana pretty well; I think This particular might help him.’ in addition to also This particular did.”

“Anybody of which can do a body-slam,” the president added, “of which’s my kind of guy.”

Mr. Trump made no mention at the rally of Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident Saudi journalist in addition to also columnist for The Washington Post, who disappeared This particular month after visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. United States intelligence officials say Mr. Khashoggi was most likely killed by Saudi officials.

Backlash against the president over his attacks on the news media in addition to also over his administration’s mild response to allegations of which the Saudi government orchestrated the killing has been swift.

The Guardian U.S., which employs the reporter whom Mr. Gianforte body-slammed, issued a statement on Thursday night after Mr. Trump finished speaking.

“To celebrate an attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job will be an attack on the First Amendment by someone who has taken an oath to defend This particular,” said John Mulholland, the editor of The Guardian U.S. “inside aftermath of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, This particular runs the risk of inviting some other assaults on journalists both here in addition to also across the earth where they often face far greater threats.”

Mr. Trump’s recent campaign blitz will be part of a broader effort to establish support for Republican midterm candidates. At the rally, the president portrayed votes for Mr. Gianforte; Matt Rosendale, who will be running for Senate; in addition to also some other candidates here as a referendum on his first 21 months in office in addition to also as insurance of which his policies can continue unhindered.

nevertheless Mr. Trump frequently veered off topic: He mounted a defense against the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference; he relitigated both his election victory in addition to also the bitter fight to confirm Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court; in addition to also he dismissed the idea of which Russia interfered inside 2016 election to help his campaign. (Intelligence officials have indicted quite a few Russian officials in addition to also companies for doing so.)

“Can you imagine me saying, ‘Gee, let’s call the Russians’?” Mr. Trump said, speaking as the sun set over the Minuteman Aviation hangar here in Missoula. “If I ever call the Russians, the first ones to know could be the state of Montana, in addition to also they wouldn’t be too happy about This particular.”

nevertheless Mr. Trump ultimately returned to the message of which he will be likely to use as he spends the rest of the week campaigning for Republicans inside West.

“This particular’s an election of Kavanaugh, the caravan, law in addition to also order in addition to also common sense,” the president told the crowd, singling out the Kavanaugh nomination battle in addition to also a caravan of migrants producing its way toward Mexico in addition to also the United States.

The Senate election here in Montana, a state he won comfortably in 2016, he said, also serves as vengeance for his personal vendetta against Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat, who was among the first to raise concerns in April about Mr. Trump’s nominee for secretary of veterans affairs, Dr. Ronny L. Jackson.

“I’m here because I can never forget what Jon Tester did to a man who’s of the highest quality,” Mr. Trump said, again targeting Mr. Tester as the catalyst for the failed nomination of Dr. Jackson. “So I got to come, in addition to also I got to help, because what he did was unfair.”