CNN anchor Chris Cuomo invited Rep. Greg Gianforte (R., Mont.) to come body-slam him on Friday if he didn't like his criticism of him, saying "I welcome it."
Cuomo closed his show with a monologue about President Donald Trump's praise of Gianforte at a rally Thursday night for assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs last year. Gianforte grew angry with Jacobs over a question about health care and body-slammed him, and he later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault for the incident.
"Any guy that can do a body slam, he's my candidate. He is my guy," Trump said at the rally, to cheers.
Cuomo played audio of the assault, saying there was no question that what happened was wrong and illegal.
"The crowd roared, much like I expect the Romans would roar when the lions mauled someone in the arena," he said of the Montana rally. "And it raises the same question? Why does Trump praise bullies? Time and again, he celebrates punks who go after the little guy."
Cuomo hit Trump for referring to Gianforte as a "tough cookie."
"Everything Gianforte did is weak," Cuomo said. "OK? He attacked someone who wasn't a threat, was at every disadvantage. Gianforte showed no control, no confidence, no respect for his office or his constituents or for the law. He is weak. And if he doesn't like it, he can come body-slam me as well. I welcome it."
Cuomo said Trump should have mocked Gianforte instead for his "pathetic display," and he pointed to Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James bucking up his teammates as a role model for the president.