The Most Disturbing Part Of Trump’s Celebrating The Battery Of A Journalist.
On October 18th the President of the United States celebrated the criminal assault and battery of an American journalist on American soil. Just watch.
Trump was referring to an incident in May 2017 when Montana Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte body slammed a reporter (Ben Jacobs of The Guardian) for asking questions Gianforte did not like. Gianforte later apologized, saying that “when you make a mistake you have to own up to it.” In a civil settlement with the reporter, Gianfore paid $50,000 to the “Committee To Protect Journalists.” In that apology Gianforte also said, “that’s not the person I am and it’s not the way I’ll lead in this state.” More on that in a minute.
Gianforte was also criminally prosecuted for his assault against Jacobs. In June 2017 Gianforte pled guilty to assault. The court imposed a 180-day deferred sentence, 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management classes, and a $300 fine. Representative Gianforte is a convicted criminal serving in Congress. This is his official mugshot.
Trump’s celebration of Gianforte’s criminal acts came just as the top news story was the murder, in a Saudi Arabian consulate, of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In their Istanbul Consulate, the Saudis brutally conducted a live dismemberment of a reporter working for a newspaper the President has repeatedly described as “the enemy of the people.” The President’s irresponsible “enemy of the people” rhetoric undoubtedly led the Saudis to believe there would not be severe consequences for this atrocity. The Saudis would quite reasonably conclude the President of the United States would regard the murder of a Washington Post journalist as a favor.
Under the headline “As we mourn a colleague, Trump celebrates violence against a journalist,” Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty summarized it well:
“If there was any doubt as to why the Saudis might think the leadership of this country would look the other way on the atrocity they are alleged to have committed against our colleague Jamal Khashoggi, President Trump erased it Thursday night.
The president of the United States, who has long referred to journalists as enemies of the people, celebrated an act of violence against a reporter on U.S. soil — to cheers and laughter from his supporters.”
The message is sent once again to despots all over the world that the President of the United States celebrates violence against journalists. That message is disturbingly repetitive.
Trump’s statements at this rally are those of a mentally and morally sick man. His words should be viewed by all Americans as disqualifying for the office he holds.
But now we get to the biggest problem of all. Trump’s words are not viewed by all Americans as disqualifying, or even repugnant, or even just a little bit wrong. Karen Tumulty touched upon this in the last words of the quote above ,— “to cheers and laughter from his supporters.”
Watch that video again, and this time focus on the audience rather than Trump. These supposedly liberty-loving Americans viewed Trump’s celebration of criminal violence against a reporter as something to celebrate themselves. While Republicans decry supposed Democrat endorsements of “mob attacks,” involving things like shouting at Republicans in restaurants, the President and this Republican mob cheer the idea of criminal physical assaults against journalists.
As terrifying as the President of the United States saying this sort of thing is, the happy reaction of the cheering crowd is even more frightening. This should not happen in America . . . and yet it does. One wonders what is next.
One thing that should happen next is that Gianforte himself should repudiate the President’s remarks. When Gianforte apologized he said, “that’s not the person I am and it’s not the way I’ll lead in this state.”
It is time for Representative Gianforte to lead in the state as he promised he would by rejecting the President’s endorsement of his violence. Otherwise that promise, and the apology it was part of, were nothing but a sham aimed at reducing the legal consequences for his criminal act.
I doubt Representative Gianforte will repudiate the President’s words. I invite him to prove me wrong. For the record, I called Gianforte’s office and asked this question. They provided no answer. I just got the standard old, “we will pass your question on to the Congressman” response.
In the unlikely event Gianforte does repudiate the President’s words, I will update this article with my own apology to him.