During an absolutely balls-to-the-wall, batshit rally on Thursday night, President Donald Trump spoke effusively about Greg Gianforte, the Montana representative-at-large who bodyslammed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs on the campaign trail, repeated conspiracy theories about asylum seekers from Central America, claimed that Democrats couldn’t give women what they want, rambled about his hair, and just generally gave one of the wildest political speeches he’s given in his career.
The biggest moment of the night was his praise of Gianforte.
For reference, during an interview the night before the election for Montana’s single representative-at-large in the House, Gianforte grabbed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs by the neck and threw him on the ground. Jacobs recorded the whole thing. Gianforte was cited for misdemeanor assault, and then won the election. He pled guilty to the crime and received a six-month deferred sentence of 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management classes on top of a $385 fine, despite the fact that he lied to police during the investigation. He now serves in Congress.
At the rally, Trump describes being in Rome when he heard the news. Here’s the moment:
It was shocking, even for the battle-hardened press corps that covers Trump’s rallies, who are used to being singled out or targeted. Trump gets huge laughs and applause after every line. There is a sea of red and white MAGA hats behind him.
After the rally, Guardian US editor John Mulholland put out the following statement:
Also during the rally, Trump repeated the baseless, debunked conspiracy theory that central American migrants currently traveling to the U.S. are being paid to enter the country before the midterm elections.
He rambled about his hair, at one point claiming that people don’t accuse him of wearing a toupee any more because they’ve seen it blowing around in the wind so much. This was while speaking about hurricanes.
Trump is always in fine form in Montana, but his speech on Thursday was something else—like a completely unhinged recap of all the worst things he’s done or inspired or could possibly say. He insulted Charles Krauthammer, called Democrats the party of crime, and said “never forget Benghazi.”
He was there to support Matt Rosendale in his campaign against incumbent Democrat Jon Tester. Tester responded to the rally with a video of him on a harvester.
Here it is. You can watch it, if you missed it. I don’t recommend it.