Donald Trump Celebrates Montana Republican Who Beat Up Reporter: 'He Is a Fighter'

President Donald Trump on Thursday offered praise for a Republican congressman who last year pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter. The comments were made during a rally before his supporters in Montana in which the president also railed against the media's coverage of his administration.

Representative Greg Gianforte of Montana was sentenced to community service and anger management in June of last year after he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor assault of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. Jacobs had recorded his encounter with Gianforte, who was accused of body slamming the reporter and breaking his glasses.

"I grabbed his wrist," Gianforte said the day he was sentenced. "A scuffle ensued, and he was injured, as I understand it."

The assault occurred the day before Gianforte would win his spot in the House of Representatives.

Trump told the Billings, Montana, crowd that Gianforte had "fought" for the state, and seemed to allude to the assault.

"I'll tell you what: This man has fought—in more ways than one—for your state. He has fought for your state," Trump said. "Greg Gianforte. He is a fighter and a winner."

The comment could be construed as another attack against the media, which Trump has labeled the "enemy of the people" for what he's described as "fake news" about his administration.

The president's rhetoric about the media previously led to supporters cursing and shouting at reporters who were covering his rallies, like CNN's Jim Acosta.

Other members of the administration had not echoed the president's words and he has pulled back on the label, stating it was only meant for "fake news" organizations.

But the comment came as Trump dealt with a damning opinion piece penned by a member of his administration and published by The New York Times Wednesday.

The unknown senior administration official claimed they were part of a group that had banded together to restrain Trump's more extreme instincts and ensure the president did not cause any damage to the country.

The writer said they were part of the "resistance," borrowing a term from some of Trump's opponents, while accusing the president of having no moral base.

Donald Trump celebrates Montana republican who assaulted reporter
President Donald Trump waves to the crowd during a Make America Great Again rally in Billings, Montana, on September 6. AFP via Getty Images/Nicholas Kamm

"The root of the problem is the president's amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making," the official wrote.

Following the op-ed's publication, the White House and Trump blasted the author for being "gutless" and The Times for running the piece.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a blistering statement calling the unnamed official a "coward" and for them to resign.

Sanders also gave out the phone number of The Times's opinion desk, while the country tried to determine who wrote the scathing piece about the president's lack of control in his own administration.

Donald Trump Celebrates Montana Republican Who Beat Up Reporter: 'He Is a Fighter' | U.S.