Montana’s congressional delegation has weighed in with strong words and widely divergent opinions, based on party affiliation, to the controversy surrounding President Donald Trump’s Twitter comments directed at some Democrat congresswomen.
Trump and a few Republicans in Congress have defended his Sunday tweet calling on four Democratic congresswomen of color to "go back" to help fix their “broken and crime infested” countries, although three of the four were born in the U.S. and all are U.S. citizens.
Democrats widely condemned Trump’s tweet as racist, while many Republicans were silent on the issue.
Responding to a request for comment from Lee Newspapers in Montana, Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte, both Republicans, commented on the controversy as did Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat.
“Montanans are sick and tired of listening to anti-American, anti-Semite, radical Democrats trash our country and our ideals,” Daines wrote on Twitter. “We’re the greatest country in the world. I stand with @realdonaldtrump.”
Daines’ tweet was accompanied by a symbol of an American flag. Daines’ chief of staff Jason Thielman replied to the tweet with a glittering image of a bald eagle, the colors of the American flag and the words “America Love It Or Leave It.”
Daines' tweet had 6,400 “likes”, 2,000 retweets and 9,700 comments within four hours of being posted.
A spokesman for Rep. Gianforte also sent in an emailed comment.
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“Greg is concerned less about where extreme liberal Democrats are from and more about their socialist agenda for socialized medicine, open borders, and a national gun registry. Greg will continue standing against socialism and working to protect our Montana way of life,” the spokesman wrote.
Tester did not appreciate the president’s words.
“We should be able to disagree on policy and politics without devolving into divisive, hateful rhetoric,” Tester said in an email. “These comments were reprehensible and far beneath the office of the Presidency.”
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat who is campaigning to be president, also weighed in on Twitter, posting a comment to a New York Times story on Trump’s comments.
“Diversity is our strength,” Bullock wrote.
Daines is seeking re-election to the Senate in 2020, and Gianforte is running for governor because Bullock is term-limited.
Tester was re-elected in 2018.