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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Trump Jr To Montanans: If You Like Trump, You'll Like Gianforte

Republican U.S. House Candidate Greg Gianforte welcomed the son of the president of the United States to a stage at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds today, raising money and support from a cheering crowd. Gianforte's team and other volunteers say around 600 supporters turned out.

Donald Trump Jr. compared Greg Gianforte to this father during the rally in Hamilton, tapping into a still moving wave of conservative support left over from the November election.

Trump Jr. says he asked if he could come to Montana to help campaign for Gianforte. Tickets to the event cost $35. Gianforte’s Democratic opponent in the May 25 special election is folk musician Rob Quist.

Trump Jr. told his father's supporters, many wearing  red ‘Make America Great Again Hats’, that if they liked Trump, they'd like Greg Gianforte, a software entrepreneur from Bozeman:

"So we have the opportunity to put someone very similar to the person you all voted for for president in Congress again, representing your state. Someone who is a business man. Someone who has actually created jobs," Trump Jr. said.

Trump Jr. and Gianforte railed against the Obama administration, political correctness, and what they called the liberal elitist media, saying they don’t understand their values and political  message.

"We get lectured every day, what you can and can’t think. What you can  and can’t say. He says what he’s thinking. He says what almost all of you are thinking,” Trump Jr. said of the president.

Outside the doors of the rally hall, across a parking lot and a fence, about a hundred protesters  waving signs lined the street.

Protesters outside the Gianforte campaign rally in Hamilton, MT April 21, 2017.
Credit Rachel Cramer
Protesters outside the Gianforte campaign rally in Hamilton, MT April 21, 2017.

John Makarowski from Stevensville says he came to protest because he’s concerned about where the country is going, and the state of the environment being left for future generations.

Ever since I woke up on the morning after the election I saw that all our issues are in jeopardy right now with the agenda of Trump and this Republican Congress, Makarowski says.

Trump Jr. and Greg Gianforte will finish up their tour with a rally in Billings and a final rally in Bozeman Saturday. They also plan to hunt prairie dogs over the weekend.

Republican Senator Steve Daines  was at the Hamilton event, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke appeared with Trump Jr. and Gianforte in Kalispell.

Democratic candidate Rob Quist is bringing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to Montana in May. No specific dates or locations for that visit have been announced. 

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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