In the wake of Donald Trump’s recent vulgar video, Rep. Ryan Zinke must be having some sleepless nights.
A chance encounter at the Missoula airport with former Montana Public Radio news director Sally Mauk reveals that Zinke could be wavering on his unwavering support of Trump. From the interview:
SM: You’ve been up to now an enthusiastic supporter of Mr. Trump. Are you still a supporter of Mr. Trump?
RZ: I’m going to meet with – I am at the moment. Because I just cannot vote for corruption or lies.
SM: Meaning Mrs. Clinton?
RZ: Mrs. Clinton, but this also shakes that – I want to confer to the leadership, I want to look at this closely, because I think it’s an important issue.
There are two key phrases here. When asked if he still supports Trump, Zinke says, “I am at the moment” and “I want to confer to the leadership.” I assume he means “confer with the leadership” but you get the gist.
The cliche “between a rock and a hard place” certainly applies. If he stops supporting Trump, he’ll alienate the hardcore Trump supporters that make up a good portion of his base. Rep. Paul Ryan got a taste of that at a Wisconsin rally. If he sticks by Trump, he risks the wrath of moderates, independents and, dare I say, a few women.
My guess is he’ll try to distance himself from Trump as much as possible without completely bailing on the guy. Trump’s second debate with Hillary Clinton wasn’t the complete debacle of the first, so that might give Zinke some hope. Zinke will continue with nebulous quotes like, ” … it’s not just a Republican or Democrat issue, this an American issue.”
At the very least, Zinke’s dilemma, vulgarities aside, must be bringing a smile to the face of opponent Denise Juneau.