Scalise Defends Trump After He’s Criticized for Praising Gianforte

Molly Prince | Politics Reporter

Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana came to the defense of President Donald Trump on Friday after members of the media criticized the president for praising Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte during a campaign rally in Montana.

“President Trump was clearly ribbing Congressman Gianforte for last year’s incident, which he apologized for last year,” Scalise tweeted. “It’s obvious he was not encouraging his supporters to engage in attacks, and not one person harassed the numerous media reporters who were present.”

Gianforte faced backlash in 2017 when he was running on the Republican ticket to replace Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke as the representative of Montana’s at-large district. In the final days of his campaign, Gianforte allegedly body-slammed a politics reporter, for which he was later charged.

During the Montana rally on Thursday, Trump brought up the incident while praising the Montana congressman’s intelligence.

“But Greg is smart,” Trump told the crowd. “And by the way, never wrestle him. You understand that? Never. Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of … he was my guy.” (RELATED: Steve Scalise Calls Out Colleagues For Not Condemning Political Violence)

“It’s irresponsible for the mainstream media to create a false equivalence between this and Democrat leaders in Washington regularly using threatening rhetoric to call on their supporters to harass Trump officials, supporters, and Republican members and candidates,” Scalise continued.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 19: U.S. House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) (C) heads towards the House chamber to vote on the tax overhaul bill December 19, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. The House has passed the tax overhaul bill and the Senate is expected to vote on the bill soon. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 19: U.S. House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) (C) heads towards the House chamber to vote on the tax overhaul bill December 19, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. The House has passed the tax overhaul bill and the Senate is expected to vote on the bill soon. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California has vocally called for harassing officials working for Trump’s administration and Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey recently demanded his constituents “get up in the face of some congresspeople.”

“I find it disingenuous when some in the media refuse to report or call out actual violence by leftist protestors, yet they’ll whip into a hysterical frenzy over what clearly was a joke at a rally,” Scalise said. “This is about which party has the best ideas, not which party has the most bullies.”

Scalise was the subject of an assassination attempt after a left-wing activist opened fire while Republicans were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game. He was shot in the hip and gravely injured during the attack.

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Tags : donald trump greg gianforte steve scalise
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