Trump Says He Doesn’t Regret Remarks About Gianforte Assaulting Reporter: The Congressman is a ‘Tough Cookie’

President Donald Trump, to perhaps no one’s surprise, is completely standing by his jovial comments about a Republican congressman’s assault of a reporter.

Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) attacking Ben Jacobs became the subject of a Trump riff last night during a rally, in which the President actually said, “Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of guy.”

The White House Correspondents Association condemned Trump’s remarks, and today, as the President answered questions about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, one reporter asked, “Do you regret bringing up last night at your rally the assault on a reporter by a congressman?”

Trump said he doesn’t, adding, “That was a different world. That was a different league, a different world, no. He’s just a great guy.”

He talked about his “tremendous success” last night and said, “Greg is a tremendous person and he’s a tough cookie and I’ll stay with that.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Praises Rep. Gianforte For Assaulting Reporter: Anyone Who Can Body Slam is ‘My Kind of Guy’

 President Donald Trump praised a Republican congressman who body slammed a reporter last year, saying the lawmaker was “my guy.”

Trump, speaking at a rally in Montana, said Rep. Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter who asked him a question, was a good guy.

“Greg is smart and, by the way, never wrestle him,” the president said, motioning as though he was slamming someone to the ground. “Any guy that can do a body slam — he’s my guy.”

He added Gianforte was a “great guy” and a “tough cookie.”

In May 2017, Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs said Gianforte “body slammed” him for asking a question during an event. Gianforte went on to win Montana’s only U.S. House seat despite the misdemeanor charge and two Montana papers — the Missoulian and the Billings Gazette — rescinding their endorsements.

Gianforte’s campaign initially released a statement claiming Jacobs had “aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face” and instigated the attack. Gianforte later pleaded guilty to an assault charge and apologized for the incident, pledging a $50,000 donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Gianforte is in a battle against Democrat and former state legislator Kathleen Williams in next month’s election.

Guardian Editor John Mulholland denounced the president’s praise for the assault as an attack on the First Amendment.

“The President of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian,” he said in a statement given to CNN. “To celebrate an 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.”

Mulholland continued, saying the rhetoric was dangerous, especially given the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who is believed to have been killed in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Mulholland said this “runs the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists both here and across the world where they often face far greater threats. We hope decent people will denounce these comments and that the president will see fit to apologize for them.”

During the rally, Trump talked about learning of the assault and said he initially worried Gianforte would lose his election last year.

“I said, ‘Oh, this is terrible. He’s going to lose the election,”‘ Trump told the crowd. “Then I said, ‘Well, wait a minute. I know Montana pretty well. I think it might help him and it did.'”

Throughout his rally, the president made several remarks about Gianforte’s attack on Jacobs. He cited the incident when he mentioned comments by former Vice President Joe Biden, who said that if he’d known Trump in high school he would have “beat the hell out of” him.

The president challenged Biden during the rally, saying “He’d be down faster than Greg would take him down. He’d be down so fast. Faster than Greg. I’d have to go very fast. I’d have to immediately connect.”

[USA Today]

Media

Trump Talks Fighting Joe Biden: ‘He’d Be Down Faster’ Than Greg Gianforte Could ‘Take Him Down’

President Donald Trump fired off tough words at Joe Biden at a rally on Thursday night, boasting he would knock him down faster than Rep. Greg Gianforte could, the Montana Republican who attacked a reporter during his campaign for Congress.

After praising Gianforte for body slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, a crime for which the lawmaker was just sentenced, Trump brought up his feud with former Vice President Biden.

“How about Sleepy Joe Biden,” Trump said, while listing off his potential 2020 competitors. “Remember he challenged me to a fight.”

“And when I said he wouldn’t last long, he’d be down faster than Greg would take him down,” Trump continued. “He’d be down so fast. Remember? Faster than Greg. I’d have to go very fast. I’d have to immediately connect.”

During the 2016 campaign, Biden criticized Trump’s “disgusting assertion” about groping women on the access Hollywood Tape.

“The press always asks me: don’t I wish I were debating him,” Biden said in a speech. “No, I wish we were in high school—I could take him behind the gym. That’s what I wish.”

Those comments prompted a war of words between the two, with Trump saying Biden would “go down fast and hard, crying all the way.” Biden eventually said he regretted his comments.

[Mediaite]

New York judge says Trump ‘authorized and condoned’ his security guards to rough up protesters

Trump security punch protester

A New York State judge has shot down an effort by President Donald Trump to dismiss a lawsuit against his private security guards for allegedly roughing up demonstrators who were protesting outside of Trump Tower months after he announced his presidential run.

The New York Law Journal reports that Bronx Supreme Court Justice Fernando Tapia on Tuesday declined to dismiss the suit filed by protesters who claim they were roughed up by the president’s security team back in 2015.

Specifically, Tapia said that Trump himself “authorized and condoned” his security guards to rough up the protesters, and he specifically cited the president’s statement that “maybe they deserved to be roughed up” on the grounds that “it was absolutely disgusting” what the protesters were doing.

The lawsuit was filed by five Latino activists who claim that they were roughed up by longtime Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller and two other men who were employed as part of the then-candidate’s security personnel.

[Raw Story]

Trump Threatens Joe Biden, Saying He ‘Would Go Down Fast and Hard’ if They Fought

President Trump threatened former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday, saying in a tweet that Mr. Biden “would go down fast and hard” if the two men ever physically fought. Mr. Trump was responding to Mr. Biden’s comments on Tuesday about how, if he was in high school, Mr. Biden would “beat the hell” out of Mr. Trump for disrespecting women.

Mr. Biden, speaking at a University of Miami rally to combat sexual assault, said, “A guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, ‘I can grab a woman anywhere and she likes it,’ ” referring to an Access Hollywood audio recording in which Mr. Trump is heard boasting about kissing and groping women without their consent. Mr. Biden said when he was asked if he would like to debate Mr. Trump, he said, “If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.”

The back-and-forth blustering between two men in their 70s comes a day after Mr. Trump criticized two of his predecessors, Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, for not being able to improve relations with Russia. And Mr. Trump is facing revived sexual misconduct accusations after a New York state judge ruled that a defamation lawsuit from a woman who has said Mr. Trump made unwanted sexual advances could go forward.

Mr. Biden, who has been a longtime advocate for anti-sexual assault policies, has been on the road lately, campaigning for Democrats.

Earlier this month, he campaigned for a Democrat in western Pennsylvania who won a special congressional election in a district that had previously been considered Trump country. Mr. Trump campaigned for the Republican candidate who lost. Democrats see the loss as an indicator of a potential wave of Democratic wins in the upcoming midterm elections.

There has been talk of a possible 2020 presidential run, which could pit Mr. Biden, 75, directly against Mr. Trump, 71.

Mr. Biden considered running in 2016, but decided not to because of the death of his son. At the time, Mr. Trump said he thought Mr. Biden made the right choice for his family and that he would rather run against Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Trump has previously tweeted about Mr. Biden while he was vice president, commenting on Mr. Biden’s gaffes. In 2012, Mr. Trump said he felt sorry for Mr. Biden’s communications team.

[The New York Times]

Trump Retweets GIF of Him Hitting Clinton With Golf Ball

President Donald Trump retweeted an edited video Sunday morning that showed him swinging a golf club and appearing to hit his former presidential campaign rival Hillary Clinton with a golf ball.

The animated GIF image Trump retweeted spliced together footage of Trump taking a swing on a golf course with footage of Clinton tripping and falling as she boarded a plane in 2011 as secretary of state. The footage is edited to make it appear as though Clinton is hit in the back with a golf ball before her fall.

The tweet revealed a President still reverting to his old social media habits, namely, those likely to earn him quick criticism, less than two months after retired Gen. John Kelly took over as White House chief of staff.

While Kelly has not sought to stop Trump from tweeting, he has encouraged the President to allow him to vet the tweets before posting them — a request Trump has sometimes acquiesced to.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday about the President’s tweet and whether Kelly was aware of it.

The tweet, which came as Trump prepares to head to New York for a critical round of powerhouse diplomacy with world leaders at the United Nations, followed a week during which Clinton reemerged in the spotlight as she promoted her new book, “What Happened,” about the 2016 campaign, reviving her fiercest criticisms of Trump and his supporters and reigniting the debate about her stunning, unanticipated loss.

Trump slammed Clinton over her new book earlier this week too, tweeting that she “blames everybody (and every thing) but herself for her election loss.”

Trump’s Sunday morning Twitter post was one of more than a half-dozen supporters’ tweets the President retweeted Sunday before 8:30 a.m.

Those other tweets included an image predicting Trump would win every state for reelection in 2020, another showing Trump hauling US companies that have outsourced manufacturing abroad and a tweet claiming that “only true Americans can see that president Trump is making America great.”

[CNN]

Trump Tweets Cartoon of Train Hitting CNN Reporter

US President Donald Trump has posted an image of a train hitting a CNN reporter three days after a hit-and-run left one person dead at a far-right rally.

The cartoon, which Mr Trump deleted after tweeting, depicts the cable network logo being run over by a “Trump Train” symbolising his supporters.

The president also apparently accidentally retweeted a post by someone calling him “a fascist”.

Mr Trump is in New York where he faces a second day of protests.

White House officials told NBC the train image – captioned “Fake news can’t stop the Trump Train” – had been “inadvertently posted” and when “noticed it was immediately deleted”.

In another presumably unintentional retweet, the US president shared – and then also deleted – a post by someone who said of him: “He’s a fascist, so not unusual.”

The Twitter user, @MikeHolden , had been commenting on a Fox report saying that Mr Trump could be planning to pardon Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty in July of racially profiling Hispanic people.

Mr Holden, of Burnley, England, promptly changed his Twitter bio to read: “Officially Endorsed by the President of the United States. I wish that were a good thing.”

Asked by the BBC if he thinks the “endorsement” ended when Mr Trump deleted the tweet he laughed and said: “Oh, absolutely. I don’t think he really meant to endorse it.

“I don’t think he intended to say, ‘yup, that’s me, the big ol’ fascist!'”

“I’m an internet nobody!” added Mr Holden, a 53-year-old IT consultant, adding the response has been “absolutely bananas”.

“It’s rare you get that kind of attention from the president, isn’t it?” Mr Holden added.

Mr Trump has drawn criticism from both ends of the political spectrum since Saturday’s so-called Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a woman was killed.

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old counter-protester and 19 other people were injured when a car rammed the crowd. A 20-year-old man is facing murder and other charges.

Mr Trump did not immediately condemn the white supremacists, instead blaming “many sides” for “hatred, bigotry, and violence” in the university town.

On Monday he sought to clarify his views, denouncing the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis by name.

But in the process he took a moment to demean a CNN reporter.

Asked by journalist Jim Acosta why he had waited so long to condemn the hate groups, Mr Trump responded: “I like real news, not fake news.”

Pointing the finger at the White House correspondent, he added: “You are fake news.”

Mr Trump frequently targets the so-called “fake news media” in tweets to his nearly 36 million followers.

In May he shared a clip of himself pummelling professional wrestler with a CNN logo superimposed on his face.

Late on Monday, Mr Trump also retweeted a post from an account linked to one of his supporters known for fuelling conspiracy theories, such as “Pizzagate” .

The post by Jack Posobiec linked to a story from an ABC affiliate and said: “Meanwhile: 39 shootings in Chicago this weekend, 9 deaths. No national media outrage. Why is that?”

The Pizzagate conspiracy theory claimed Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief was running a paedophile ring out of a pizza parlour in Washington.

Mr Trump awoke for the first time as president in Trump Tower on Tuesday, tweeting that it “feels good to be home”.

He arrived at the Manhattan skyscraper on Monday night amid throngs of protesters calling for his impeachment.

Three people were arrested, and police expect further demonstrations on Tuesday.

Late-night show hosts turned their fire on Mr Trump on Monday night.

The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon, who usually avoids political polemic, rebuked the president.

“The fact that it took the president two days to clearly denounce racists and white supremacists is shameful,” Mr Fallon said on his NBC show.

[BBC News]

Donald Trump Endorses Police Brutality in Speech to Cops

President Donald Trump received applause on Friday when he endorsed police brutality while delivering a speech to law enforcement officers on Long Island, New York.

The president suggested that officers should hit suspects’ heads on the doors of their police cars.

“When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, and I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice,’” Trump said.

“Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head, I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’” he added.

His remarks received significant applause.

Trump also made the dubious claim that laws were “horrendously stacked” against police officers and said he wants to change those laws.

“For years and years, [laws have] been made to protect the criminal,” Trump said. “Totally protect the criminal, not the officers. You do something wrong, you’re in more jeopardy than they are. These laws are stacked against you. We’re changing those laws.”

In his speech, Trump also said that police officers in many parts of the country couldn’t do their jobs because they had a “pathetic mayor” or a mayor “who doesn’t know what’s going on.” Those comments also received a lengthy applause.

“It’s sad, it’s sad. You look at what’s happening, and it’s sad,” Trump said. “We’re going to support you like you’ve never been supported before.”

Trump also spoke about violence in Chicago, which was a consistent theme of his speeches throughout the campaign and is a topic he has continued to reference during his presidency. Trump recalled speaking to an “impressive” and “rough cookie” police officer from Chicago, and said the officer had told him he could straighten out the city’s violence problem in a “couple of days” if he was given the authority.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Trump may not be getting along these days, but the two are on the same page when it comes to policing. Sessions has had the Justice Department pull back from “pattern or practice” investigations that look into widespread constitutional abuses in police departments.

Zeke Johnson, senior director of programs at Amnesty International USA, said Trump’s “inflammatory and hateful speech will only escalate tensions between police and communities,” putting both officers and civilians at risk.

“Police cannot treat every community like an invading army, and encouraging violence by police is irresponsible and reprehensible,” he said.

Vanita Gupta, who headed the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under former President Barack Obama, said Trump’s remarks were “unconscionable” and undermined the positive efforts of local law enforcement to build up community trust.

“The president of the United States, standing before an audience of law enforcement officials, actively encouraged police violence,” Gupta said. “We call on the president to immediately and unequivocally condemn police brutality. We can all respect our law enforcement officers without sanctioning unjust and illegal behavior.”

Robert Driscoll, a former Justice Department Civil Rights Division official under the President George W. Bush administration, was also critical.

[Huffington Post]

 

Donald Trump Jr. Shares Fake Clip of President Shooting “CNN” Out of the Sky

President Trump’s oldest son, 39-year-old Donald Trump Jr., posted a doctored clip from the 1986 movie “Top Gun” to his social media accounts Saturday, in which his father is portrayed as a fighter pilot shooting down a jet emblazoned with the CNN logo.

“One of the best I’ve seen,” the Trump son said, reposting the video to Twitter and Instagram from a user called @OldRowOfficial.

In the fake video, Mr. Trump is seen positioning his aircraft to aim at a fighter jet labeled “CNN.” Mr. Trump pulls the trigger, and the target explodes mid-air.

This latest post from the Trump son comes as his father continues waging a war against “fake news,” particularly CNN. Last week, the president shared an altered video of himself beating down a WWE wrestler with the “CNN” icon on his face.

Donald Trump Jr. has taken the role of defending his father and sister Ivanka Trump amid intense White House scrutiny.

The Trump son chimed in Saturday after Ivanka Trump sat in for her father at a G-20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, sparking criticism that such a move could be inappropriate.

The eldest Trump son and his brother, Eric Trump, are running their father’s vast business empire while Mr. Trump is in office.

Concerns over the Trump family’s involvement in his presidency continue to lurk. Initially, Ivanka Trump said she would keep a private role apart from the White House, but she has since taken an official — albeit unpaid — position on staff, and continues to have an active role in White House policy discussions, such as at the G-20 meeting Saturday.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump said Ivanka’s life would be easier if she wasn’t his daughter.

[CBS News]

Trump tweets a video of him wrestling ‘CNN’ to the ground

President Trump posted a short video to his Twitter account Sunday in which he is portrayed wrestling and punching a figure whose head has been replaced by the logo for CNN.

The video, about 28 seconds long, appears to be an edited clip from a years-old appearance by Trump in WrestleMania, an annual professional wrestling event. The clip ends with an on-screen restyling of the CNN logo as “FNN: Fraud News Network.”

Cartoonish in quality, the video is an unorthodox way for a sitting president to express himself. But Trump has ratcheted up his attacks on the media in recent days — assailing CNN and crudely insulting the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” — while defending his use of social media as “modern day presidential.”

In a speech Saturday at a faith rally in Washington, Trump was met with cheers when he referred to CNN as “garbage journalism” and said: “The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House. But I’m president, and they’re not.”

The wrestling video stirred criticism, disbelief, and dumbfoundedness. Some journalists denounced its portrayal of violence as dangerous, saying it could incite attacks or threats against media employees.

“I think it is unseemly that the president would attack journalists for doing their jobs, and encourage such anger at the media,” said Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times.

The administration did not respond to a request for comment. Trump’s homeland security adviser, Thomas Bossert, defended the video when he viewed it for the first time during a broadcast interview with Martha Raddatz of ABC News. “No one would perceive that as a threat,” Bossert said. “I hope they don’t.”

“He’s a genuine president expressing himself genuinely,” Bossert added.

CNN criticized Trump for posting the video. “It is a sad day when the president of the United States encourages violence against reporters,” the network said in a statement.

“Instead of preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea, and working on his health care bill, he is involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office,’’ the statement said. “We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his.’’

Asked about the video on ABC, Governor John Kasich, Republican of Ohio, said he hoped Trump’s family would talk to him and say, ‘‘Knock it off.’’ He added, “the coarseness doesn’t help anybody.’’

Rallies for and against Trump were held in several cities Sunday.

Demonstrators hoisting signs and chanting anti-Trump slogans marched through downtown Los Angeles to urge Congress to impeach the president. Organizers said they believe the president has violated the Constitution and obstructed justice. A smaller group of Trump backers rallied outside the police headquarters.

Supporters and opponents clashed in Austin, Texas, at a march by a group calling for impeachment.

A version of Trump’s video appeared last week on a Trump-dedicated page on the message board site Reddit, a popular meeting ground for Trump supporters.

The CNN logo is superimposed on what appears to be the head of Vince McMahon, a wrestling magnate and a friend of Trump, who in his prepresidential years often appeared as a guest on wrestling shows.

Trump’s fans on Reddit were exuberant about what they viewed as validation from the country’s most powerful man. “I love this,” wrote a user identified as American_Crusader. “You know he saw it, chuckled, and knew he could control the media narrative for days by hitting the ‘post’ button. So he did.”

The president’s allies say his attacks on the media are justified, arguing that the president is merely defending himself from coverage that his supporters view as biased. Trump’s war of words with CNN is especially popular with his voter base.

Media advocates, however, have raised alarms about a recent spate of arrests and assaults on working journalists, including a high-profile episode in which a Montana congressional candidate, Greg Gianforte, assaulted a reporter for The Guardian, breaking his glasses. Gianforte, who won a House seat, later apologized to the reporter.

Bruce Brown, the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, condemned the wrestling video as a ‘‘threat of physical violence against journalists.’’

“Targeting individual journalists or media outlets, on-or off-line, creates a chilling effect and fosters an environment where further harassment, or even physical attack, is deemed acceptable,” said Courtney Radsch, the advocacy director for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Trump posted the wrestling tweet just as prominent Republicans began appearing on the major Sunday news programs.

On CNN, Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, accused the president of “weaponizing distrust” toward the media.

But Tom Price, the health and human services secretary, bristled when asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about Trump’s antimedia remarks. “This is really remarkable,” Price said. “Your program — a program with the incredible history of ‘Meet the Press’ — and that’s what you want to talk about?”

[Boston Globe]

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