After President Donald Trump praised a Montana Republican for bodyslamming a journalist while on the campaign trail last year, the reporter in question sounded off on how it felt to have the president laugh at his assault on stage.
“Why, when this president is ramping up the rhetoric against Democrats for what he says is mob-like behavior, is he applauding violence by the man he’s campaigning for?” host Anderson Cooper asked before introducing The Guardian‘s Ben Jacobs, the reporter assaulted by Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT).
Jacobs told Cooper he felt “shock and dismay” when he heard Trump laud Gianforte during a Missoula rally Thursday night.
“I always knew that was a possibility,” the reporter said, “but then there’s the process of how do you deal with it and then how you actually call up and tell your family that the president is mocking you when you’ve been a victim of a crime.”
Jacobs added that he wasn’t surprised by Trump’s comments after having reported on his presidential candidacy.
Cooper noted that in spite of Trump lauding Gianforte as a “tough cookie,” the congressman initially lied about the assault and mislead police and reporters.
“He lied about me until he realized there [were] audio and eyewitnesses,” Jacobs said. “That was not the actions of a ‘tough cookie.’ A ‘tough cookie’ doesn’t attack someone out of nowhere, without provocation, for asking a question about healthcare policy.”
The reporter then revealed that police asked him afterward if there was anything about the Congressional Budget Office (whose score on the healthcare bill Jacobs brought up to Gianforte just prior to the assault) that may have “set him off.”
“That’s not the action of a ‘tough cookie,'” Jacobs said. “That’s the action of a coward.”
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