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Why Does Ryan Zinke Support A Gun-Grabbing Candidate for President?

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It’s probably too late to imagine that the Montana media will call Ryan Zinke to account for his continued support of a man who has mocked the disabled, debased American politics, called for the potential use of nuclear weapons in Europe, threatened the end of the NATO alliance, practiced racist housing policies, or any of the hundreds of other disqualifying actions in Donald Trump’s career. Zinke’s servile support of Trump didn’t receive criticism when he absurdly suggested that he was being considered for Trump’s VP, and it didn’t receive criticism when it was revealed that the man Zinke is supporting for President doesn’t know what the nuclear triad is.

It would, it appears, be unseemly to ask the Congressman to defend his support for the most dangerous major party candidate for President in American history, so once again, Congressman Zinke is getting a free pass.The latest Trump controversy, though, probably warrants asking the Congressman a few hard questions.

Given Congressman Zinke’s own very weak record on gun rights, it would seem appropriate for a member of the Montana press to ask the Congressman if he agrees with Mr. Trump that the police should search people they think have guns and take those weapons away from them.

Vanity Fair reports that Trump, when attempting to clarify his support for a proposal that violates the Fourth Amendment, suggested eviscerating the Second:

The more guns, the better, in other words. Or at least that’s what Trump advocates for his gun-enthused supporters. When it comes to America’s inner cities, which Trump has characterized as “rife with crime,” the G.O.P. nominee proposes something quite different: the expansion of the controversial “stop and frisk” policy, wherein police are encouraged to conduct widespread stops—usually of African-Americans—and confiscate weapons. “You know, the police are proactive and if they see a person possibly with a gun or they think may have a gun, they will see the person and they’ll look and they’ll take the gun away,” he explained Thursday on Fox and Friends, attempting to walk back his call to implement stop-and-frisk nationwide.

Trump’s position only has two explanations, if we assume he’s capable of rationale thought: either he believes that the government does have the power to disarm citizens or he believes that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to people of color. The former would be the actual manifestation of the paranoid fantasies the right has used to fundraise from gun enthusiasts for decades and the latter would represent an indefensible, unconstitutional, and immoral “separate but equal” policy when it comes to the Bill of Rights.

Imagine if the political leaders people like Zinke and the NRA has condemned as “gun grabbers” issued a proposal like the one Trump served up today. They’d be crying about fascism at the least and holing up in a compound at the worst. And yet, hours after Trump called for a wholesale disarmament of people of color, Zinke and the NRA are silent. While Zinke’s running ads dishonestly suggesting that Denise Juneau will attack the Second Amendment as a member of Congress, he’s remaining an enthusiastic supporter of a man who’s calling for the most significant actual confiscation of legal guns in this country’s history. The hypocrisy, the opportunism, and the silence are entirely indefensible.

Given the centrality of gun issues to Montana voters, Zinke’s own inconsistent record, and his attacks on Ms. Juneau, how can the media not be demanding an explanation this time?

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we\'d certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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