'My kind of guy': Trump jokes about USA congressman assaulting journalist

A Secret Service agent stands guard as President Trump speaks at Alumni Coliseum in Richmond Ky. on Oct. 13

A Secret Service agent stands guard as President Trump speaks at Alumni Coliseum in Richmond Ky. on Oct. 13

"Never wrestle him. Never".

Trump's remarks come as new evidence supporting the theory that the US-based Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally killed in a Saudi Consulate in Turkey.

At a campaign rally in Missoula, Mr Trump lauded Representative Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanour assault for an attack on Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.

"I said: 'Oh, this is awful, he's going to lose the election.' Then I said: 'Well, wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well, I think it might help him, ' and it did", Trump said.

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"This will be an election of (Justice Brett) Kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order and common sense", Trump said.

"He's a great guy, tough cookie", he said.

It also came amid global furor over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey earlier this month.

The President said he was in Rome with other world leaders when he heard about what had happened.

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"But then I said, 'Well wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well, I think it might help him, ' and it did..."

Trump later recalled his initial reaction to the attack, claiming that he thought it would help rather than hurt Gianforte's prospects.

The congressman later apologized for his actions and was sentenced to a 180-day deferred sentence, 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management and a US$300 fine along with an $85 court fee. He also donated $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Trump, who has called the media the enemy of the American people and regularly derides journalists as "fake news", made his latest remarks during a campaign rally in Montana. "There's nothing to be embarrassed about", Trump said.

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Gianforte won by a six-point margin in 2017, but still faces re-election this year.

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