"Greg isn't very smart", Tyler said. Mr Gianforte had pleaded guilty to the assault and was given a six-month deferred jail sentence, ordered to pay a fine of $385 and sentenced to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management counselling.
President Donald Trump praised a Republican congressman for body-slamming a reporter a year ago, calling him a "tough cookie" and saying he thinks it might have helped him win election in Montana.
"But I want to hear you say that what Trump said was wrong!"
Courtney Radsch, advocacy director for the CPJ, commented: "We are disturbed once again to see president Trump standing up for those who would attack the press and contributing to an environment in which journalists are feeling less safe and in which attacks against journalists appear to have become acceptable".
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Gianforte later apologized to Jacobs and pledged a $50,000 donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists. "Hey, to go out and say, as a guy who is a little bit - who is un-PC, and probably won because he's un-PC".
Trump, who spent the beginning of the week defending Riyadh amid allegations that the Saudi regime was behind the presumed killing of Jamal Khashoggi, slightly shifted his tone Thursday, acknowledging in an interview that the Washington Post contributor had likely been murdered and suggested he'd hold the kingdom accountable if it was confirmed to be responsible.
Trump has also denied covering for Saudi Arabia over the suspected murder.
The Guardian's United States editor John Mulholland took aim at Trump's remarks. While President Trump has reportedly said he found Saudi's explanation credible, a number of lawmakers in Congress remain skeptical. Trump said he found out about Gianforte assaulting a reporter when he was travelling in Rome and said initially he was concerned it would hurt the Republican in the election.
This isn't the first time Trump has joked about, seemingly encouraged or cast aside violence against the media.