The Latest: Trump Defends Congressman Who Assaulted Reporter

President Donald Trump arrives as the sun sets to speak at a campaign rally at Minuteman Aviation Hangar, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Missoula, Mont. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

MISSOULA, MONT. (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump on the campaign trail (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump is defending Republican congressman Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter who asked him a question last year.

At a campaign rally in Montana on Thursday, Trump said, “Any guy that can do a body slam — he’s my kind of guy.”

Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs says Gianforte “body slammed” him for asking a question in May 2017, the day before Gianforte won a special election for Montana’s only U.S. House seat.

Gianforte initially told police that Jacobs instigated the attack but later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and said Jacobs did nothing wrong.

Gianforte is being challenged in November’s election by former state legislator Kathleen Williams.

Trump called Gianforte a “great guy,” a “tough cookie.”

7:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump is accusing Democrats of supporting a caravan of thousands of Central Americans who are walking toward America’s southern border.

Trump is campaigning in Missoula, Montana, on Thursday for GOP Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester. The president claims Democrats figure that all the people trying to immigrate will vote for them, but “they’re crazy.”

The president is trying to make immigration a top issue in the midterm elections, which are less than three weeks away. Trump told supporters: “Remember, it’s gonna be an election of the caravan.”

Trump also said that he’d be willing to send U.S. troops to defend the southern border if necessary.

6:55 p.m.

While campaigning in Montana, President Donald Trump says this Election Day will be about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, immigration, and law and order.

Trump said Thursday at a rally in Missoula that the midterms will be the “election of Kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order and common sense.” A caravan of thousands of Central American migrants is advancing to the U.S. border.

Trump is campaigning for GOP Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester.

The president says that when they vote, Americans will remember how Democrats fought against Kavanaugh and the Democratic positions on immigration.

6:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump is in Montana to boost GOP Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, who is running against a Democratic incumbent the president says has been a “disaster for Montana.”

Trump is holding a rally Thursday evening in Missoula to campaign against Sen. Jon Tester.

Trump blames Tester for the backlash against former White House doctor Adm. Ronny Jackson, whom the president had tapped to serve as Veterans Affairs secretary. Jackson was forced to withdraw after facing ethics allegations and questions about his preparedness for the role.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that since opposing Jackson, Tester “looks to be in big trouble in the Great State of Montana!”

Trump also criticized Tester’s opposition to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of decades-old sexual assault. Kavanaugh denied it.
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