Eric Trump defends father for praising assault of a reporter: 'He can have fun'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama says not always easy to live up to "we go high" Georgia certifies elections results in bitterly fought governor's race Trump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny MORE's son Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpTrump Jr.'s India trip cost taxpayers nearly 0K: report Robert De Niro says goodbye to ‘Jeff Sessions’ on ‘Saturday Night Live’ Eric Trump: Obama has 'personal problem' with my father MORE on Friday defended his father for praising Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteMontana New Members 2019 Gianforte defeats Democrat for Montana's at-large congressional seat Sabato's Crystal Ball: Dems will pick up more than 30 House seats, GOP set to keep Senate MORE (R-Mont.) physically assaulting a journalist. 

"He wasn’t the guy who body-slammed anyone. He can have fun," Trump said on Fox News when asked about his father's comments at a rally on Thursday and the subsequent criticism it has engendered. 

“By the way, this is actually exactly why my father won. Because so many people are so sick and tired of the perfectly scripted politician who memorized their little soundbite and they went out there and they had no crowds and they weren’t any fun and they had no charisma, they had no personality," he said.

Trump then added that his father is not politically correct and probably won because of that reason, before noting that he was joking about the incident. 

His comments come a day after President Trump lauded Gianforte for body-slamming Ben Jacobs, a reporter from The Guardian, last year, adding that it probably helped him win the 2017 special election. 

“Never wrestle him. Never. Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of ... he’s my guy,” Trump said in Missoula, Mont. 

The comment sparked widespread criticism from the press, with The Guardian releasing a statement condemning the president for "celebrating" the attack on one of its journalists. 

The White House Correspondents’ Association also issued a firm rebuke of the president, saying in a statement on Friday that Trump's words amounted to "the celebration of a crime by someone sworn to uphold our laws and an attack on the First Amendment by someone who has solemnly pledged to defend it."

"We should never shrug at the president cheerleading for a violent act targeting a free and independent news media,” the statement added.

Gianforte pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in June 2017 for the incident involving him and a journalist. He was sentenced to a 180-day deferred sentence, 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management and a $300 fine along with a $85 court fee.