Congressman criticizes Trump's reporter assault praise

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA) – Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas on Saturday criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for openly praising a Republican counterpart for assaulting a reporter in his bid for Congress last year.

On his Facebook account, Doggett said Trump applauded Montana Republican Representative Greg Gianforte just as he refused to stand up against the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Gianforte had pleaded guilty to violently attacking reporter Ben Jacobs, who had asked him a question about healthcare.

"Trump’s continued attacks on 'fake news' and the press as 'the enemy of the people' encourages violence against journalists here and elsewhere," said Doggett. "We either get a real check on Trump – we push back firmly now – or American democracy will be pushed down."

At a campaign rally in Montana on Thursday, Trump said of Gianforte: "Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of – he’s my guy."

Gianforte was sentenced to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management classes besides a $385 fine.

Khashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was last seen on Oct. 2 when he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

After days of denying to know his whereabouts, Saudi Arabia on Saturday admitted that Khashoggi was killed during a fight inside the consulate.