'He Couldn't Stop Laughing': CNN Reporter Details the 'Disturbing' Behind-the-Scenes Reality of Trump's Endorsement of Violence Against the Press

'He Couldn't Stop Laughing': CNN Reporter Details the 'Disturbing' Behind-the-Scenes Reality of Trump's Endorsement of Violence Against the Press

President Donald Trump continued to press the boundaries of liberal democracy on Thursday night when he endorsed and cheered a lawmaker's assault on a member of the press that occurred in May 2017. The president praised Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MO) and the fact that he used a bodyslam to silence a reporter who asked him about health care the day before a special election, calling the GOP representative "my kind of guy."


Over and above the obvious norm-breaching that a celebration of violence against the press represents, however, CNN's Jim Acosta provided additional disturbing details revealing the disturbing effect this rhetoric has on Trump's fans beyond the view of the cameras.

"The disturbing part of Trump’s jokes about Gianforte was the effect on the crowd," Acosta said on Twitter. "I saw one young man in the crowd making body slam gestures."

He continued: "He looked at me and ran his thumb across his throat. I talked to him after the rally was over. He couldn’t stop laughing."

As a candidate, Trump often encouraged violence against protesters at his rallies, even saying that he would cover his supporters' legal fees if they got in trouble with law for punching an anti-Trump activist. And in office, Trump has engaged in methodical demonization among the press — even as evidence grows that this behavior is encouraging violence and intimidation against the media in authoritarian dictatorships abroad.

His explicit endorsement of violence — and his crowd's enthusiastic embrace of these authoritarian tactics — is another step in the president's ratcheting up of his assault on democratic norms.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.