Administration

Trump bashes ‘liberal Democrat Jon Tester’ in Montana: He says one thing and does another

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President Trump went after Sen. Jon Tester during a campaign-style rally in Tester’s home state of Montana on Thursday night, accusing the Democratic senator of failing to live up to his promises in Washington.

Joined by Republican Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, who is seeking to oust Tester in November, Trump sought to tie the two-term senator to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

“A vote for Jon Tester is a vote for Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and the new leader of the Democrat Party, Maxine Waters,” Trump said, repeating his claim that Waters, an outspoken Trump critic who has called for his impeachment, has surfaced as the Democrats’s most prominent member. “Where have they gone?”

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The president also railed against Tester for voting against an effort last summer to repeal large parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), before delivering a veiled attack on Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who sunk the repeal effort last summer by voting with the chamber’s Democratic members.

“Jon Tester voted ‘no’ on repealing ObamaCare and even though we got a little surprise vote that evening — you all remember that evening,” Trump said. “Somebody came in with a thumbs down after campaigning for years that he was going to repeal and replace.”

Tester is among a handful of Senate Democrats seeking reelection this year in a state won by Trump in the 2016 election, and is considered a prime target for Republicans as the party sets its sights on expanding its Senate majority.

A spokesman for Tester’s campaign defended the senator’s record in a statement that avoided directly criticizing Trump while going after his Senate GOP rival.

“Montanans want someone who will roll up their sleeves and go to work fighting for Montana. Jon’s record is clear—if it’s good for Montana, Jon works with anyone from either party to get things done. If it’s bad for Montana, he’ll stand up to anyone. East Coast developer Matt Rosendale is only looking out for himself and whatever out-of-state special interest group that is propping up his campaign with cash. We can’t trust him to defend Montana,” Tester campaign spokesman Chris Meagher said.

In his prolonged attack on Tester on Thursday night, Trump also blasted the Democratic senator for his opposition to Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the president’s former pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Jackson, who previously served as the president’s personal White House physician, withdrew his nomination to lead the VA amid allegations that he overprescribed drugs, drank on the job and created a hostile work environment. Jackson has denied those allegations.

“Jon Tester showed his true colors with his shameful, dishonest attacks on a great man, a friend of mine, a man that I said, ‘Why don’t you run the VA, you’ll be great.’ Navy Adm. Ronny Jackson,” Trump said.

Trump lamented the scrutiny that Jackson received after he nominated the White House physician for the Cabinet post.

“I feel guilty,” Trump told the audience, recalling how he urged Jackson to put forward his name for the position.

“He didn’t really want to do it … I put him into the world of politics,” Trump said.

The Montana Senate race is among several closely watched battles across the country, with a poll in mid-June finding Tester leading Rosendale, 51 percent to 44 percent.

Tags 2018 midterms Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Donald Trump John McCain Jon Tester Maxine Waters Montana Senate Nancy Pelosi

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