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Durbin to Trump: ‘We’re the mob? Give me a break’

Illinois Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinCongress faces late-year logjam Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms Criminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spot MORE (D) slammed Republicans on Friday over President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE's praise of GOP Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteGOP holds line in state legislatures, dealing blow to Democrats GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte wins Montana governor's race GOP's Rosendale wins Montana House seat MORE (Mont.), who assaulted a reporter last year.

In an interview with CNN, Durbin lambasted the president for labeling Democrats an angry "mob" in recent campaign rallies and statements, suggesting the president's praise of Gianforte promoted violence.

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"Here we have a situation where the president goes to Montana and praises again a Republican congressman for body-slamming a reporter, and we're supposed to be the mob?" Durbin asked CNN's Jake Tapper. "Give me a break."

"Rally after rally, his supporters are out there screaming 'lock her up!' every time he mentions a Democrat, particularly if it's a Democratic woman," Durbin added, noting a recent rally in Iowa that broke out into chants of the phrase when Trump mentioned California Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFeinstein pushes for California secretary of state to replace Harris in Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates Criminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spot MORE (D).

Durbin's comments came after Trump praised Gianforte during a campaign rally in Montana this week, touting the congressman's wrestling skills.

"Any guy that can do a body slam — he's my kind of guy," Trump said at the rally Thursday.

Gianforte was sentenced last year to community service and anger management after body-slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs a day before the state's special election, which he went on to win.

The president doubled down on his comments Friday, calling his Montana campaign rally a "tremendous success" despite criticism over his remarks.

Republicans, including former representative and conservative radio host Joe Walsh, criticized Trump over his praise for Gianforte.

"The President encourages & applauds physical violence against a journalist," Walsh tweeted Friday morning after the rally. "Hey Republicans, don't ever complain again about violence coming from the Left," he added.