BILLINGS, Mont.—President Donald Trump returned to Montana on Sept. 6 to rally for Republican Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, marking his second trip to “Big Sky Country” within just two months.
Rosendale, currently the state’s auditor, is hoping to unseat incumbent Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat and a farmer who is running for a third term.
Trump returned to solidify efforts to keep the GOP in control of Congress. Tester’s seat is believed to be one of the more vulnerable in the upcoming midterms, as the president’s voter base is strong in Montana— he won the state by 20 points in 2016.
Inside the packed Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings, Trump opened by praising Montanans for their patriotism.
“You always respect our great American flag, you see what’s happening,” Trump said at the rally that lasted a little over an hour. He appeared to be referencing the controversy over Nike’s recent ad featuring ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who started kneeling during the national anthem before football games.
The rally also coincided with the third day of Supreme Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings where Trump criticized Democrat obstruction.
“Do you believe the anger and the meanness on the other side, it’s sick!,” he said. “He [Kavanaugh] deserves bipartisan support.”
Among the crowd were a number of state GOP members who Trump personally thanked for their work, including Sen. Steve Daines, Attorney General Tim Fox, Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, and Rep. Greg Gianforte.
But the main event was to pump Rosendale for voters.
As Rosendale walked up to speak he first welcomed the president and told the crowd “Montana is going to right a wrong this November.”
He said he would replace Obamacare and provide affordable options before touting an endorsement he received from the NRA just a day before.
Trump said Rosendale would be a “phenomenal senator,” as he unleashed a number of remarks against his opponent “[Tester] will never drain the swamp because he happens to live in the swamp.” The democratic senator has been running for elected office for over 30 years and has voted against term limits. Rosendale instead told the crowd he would only stay in office for 2 terms.
In the U.S. Senate, 32 seats are up for grabs this November, 23 of which are now held by Democrats. Democrats would have to hold those and also pick up two of the Republican seats to win control of the Senate.
The rally marks the latest show of support from the president who has campaigned aggressively on behalf of Republican candidates. Nearly all of the candidates he has endorsed so far have gone on to won.
In reference to the Sept. 6 op-ed published by The New York Times from a supposed anonymous official, Trump questioned “Is it treason? Even liberals that hate me say it’s terrible what they [NYT] did.”
The president, citing national security, called on the Times to published the name of the anonymous writer immediately and called it a threat to democracy itself.
Recently on Twitter, Rosendale blasted a smear campaign video from Tester that accused him of violating campaign finance laws, claims that have since been debunked as falsehoods.
“Folks, you cannot trust JonTester,” Rosendale wrote on Twitter with the hashtags #DishonestJon, and #TwoFacedTester.
Rosendale describes himself as a “Trump conservative” on his website and touted his work as an auditor where he cut operating costs by 23 percent during Montana’s budget crisis last year. Among the issues he stands for include building the border wall, ending sanctuary cities, replacing Obamacare, and protecting access to Montana’s public lands.
Tester, a third-generation Montana farmer, advocates for public education, family agriculture and small businesses, according to his website. In the Senate, he serves on the Veterans’ Affairs, Commerce, Indian Affairs, Banking, and Appropriations Committees.
Trump first visited Montana in July this year, where he rallied in the Great Falls for Rosendale. Previously he had called Tester’s resignation after he circulated a list of anonymous unproven allegations against Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House physician and Trump’s pick to lead the Veteran Affairs department. After the allegations emerged, Jackson withdrew.
On Sept. 5 Tester posted a new campaign advertisement that welcomed Trump to the state. The video showed Trump signing veterans bills that Tester had worked on, in what appears to be an attempt by the Democrat to connect with more conservative voters ahead of Trump’s rally.
Republicans reportedly dismissed the campaign advertisement as a shameless attempt to curry Trump’s favour. Tester’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump joked about the recent campaign video “he’s like my best friend” before adding that Tester has taken more cash from lobbyists than anyone from the Senate and is controlled by senators.
A Sept. 6 poll conducted by RealClearPolitics revealed Tester had a 50.5 rating with Rosendale close behind at 45.
Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times