Let’s Talk about Greg Gianforte’s Support For and From White Supremacists

Greg Gianforte and Robert Saunders. Image from Facebook

A lot of ink (virtual and real) has been spilled in this campaign for Congress about financial matters: Greg Gianforte’s ties to the Russian stock market, how his wealth might make it a challenge for him to connect to ordinary Montanans, and about Rob Quist’s debts incurred largely because of a botched surgery that made work difficult for a number of years. What hasn’t received any attention from the mainstream press in the state, are two small, but important financial matters that demonstrate that Greg Gianforte is willing to donate to people associated with white supremacy.

Back in 2015 and 2016 when Gianforte was trying to buy the Montana Legislature he and his wife donated to Flathead-area white supremacist Taylor Rose and Billings-area white supremacist Robert Saunders. While both lost their bids to bring their retrograde values to the Legislature, it’s troubling that Mr. Gianforte would financially support men like this and astonishing that the statewide press hasn’t pressed him to explain his donations.

Rose is so notorious that the Southern Poverty Law Center featured him in an October 2015 report, noting that he has been involved in white nationalism since college:

Since his college days, Taylor Rose has been deeply active in white nationalism. Rose acted as vice-president of a now-defunct white nationalist campus group Youth For Western Civilization (YWC). Rose headed the Liberty University chapter of the group. YWC was known for inviting white nationalists to college campuses and holding racially offensive events, such as an anti-immigrant event at Washington State University in 2011 where the YWC chapter erected a mock border fence complete with signs reading, “no crossing.”

The report goes on to note that he met with groups categorized as “right-wing extremist” by the federal government of Germany, is friends with a number of prominent white nationalists on Facebook, and reports that the YWC is noted for writing that is deeply offensive and and racist:

Recent blog items on YWC’s website also suggest an underlying antipathy towards blacks and Latinos. One unattributed 2010 posting complains that we are “importing a servant class of groundskeepers, nannies and pool boys from the Third World.” Another blamed “permanently aggrieved racial and ethnic minorities” for corporate diversity training, which it described as “a form of affirmative action in that it provides middle class jobs for those without any other marketable skills.”

The Flathead Beacon noted that Rachel Carroll Rivas, co-director of the Montana Human Rights Network thinks that Rose represents a real threat:

“I see Taylor Rose and his candidacy as one of the most overt examples of white supremacy moving into the political sphere in Montana right now,” she said. “I think Taylor Rose’s candidacy is no different than David Duke (formerly of the Ku Klux Klan) running for the Legislature, and I think people would be correct to make that comparison.”

And the Montana Cowgirl blog found racist posts about Harriet Tubman, defense of Confederate monuments, and that Rose actually gave a positive interview for a neo-Confederate magazine.

And let’s not forget his laudatory work about the neo-secessionist movement in the South.

Gianforte also donated to Robert Saunders, a legislative candidate who was exposed for his racist views:

Republican Robert Saunders is being accused of telling a black college peer at Patrick Henry College that at an earlier point in America’s history, he would have owned her. Another peer said Saunders once said President Barack Obama and his family should be “sent back to the fields to pick cotton.”

Despite claiming that he was not a racist, Saunders later had to apologize for a Facebook post that argued if more people had shot protesters in Ferguson, Missouri both welfare rolls and crime rates would decrease.

People he attended college with added to the depiction of his past, saying that he earned the nickname “Little Hitler from college classmates and that Saunders had argued that “the U.S. should “solve the ‘problem’ of Islam by forcing all US Muslims to convert to Christianity, leave, or be executed.”

Despite this, Mr. Gianforte never spoke against the two men he had donated to, never denounced their racist words and actions, and never demanded that the donations be returned.

Gianforte didn’t just donate to Mr. Saunders. This March, he accepted a check for $2700 for his campaign from a racist whose views were so reprehensible that even the mainstream media in Montana covered it.


In addition to his support of these candidates, Mr. Gianforte earned the support of a neo-confederate preacher from Idaho:

The Republican candidate for governor of Montana has ties to Douglas Wilson, an Idaho pastor who once wrote, “one could argue that the black family has never been stronger than it was under slavery,” and maintains that women are “created to be responsive and dependent to a man.”

And for some reason the Montana press hasn’t felt the need to cover any of this. It’s too late to ask Congressman Zinke to explain his association with Rose, but certainly someone in the press can ask Mr. Gianforte why he donated to people like this and why he failed to denounce them.

It’s not normal to support white supremacists. And it’s time for the press to stop normalizing by ignoring it.

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 would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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  • This is a bit over the top and desperate. Do you think Chris Cox, head of the National Rifle Association, Donald Jr, Steve Daines, Ryan Zinke, and VP Pence would support him “in Montana” if this was true? Also, why will not even Steve Bullock or Ron Tester support Quist? Are they avoiding toxic Quist? Where’s Bernie? In fact, will anybody of political significance stump for Quist?

    • Sen. Jon Tester to Hit the Campaign Trail in Support of Quist

      HELENA — On Saturday, May 13, Senator Jon Tester will kick off a series of events in support of Rob Quist for Congress.

      A native Montanan, Rob is running to be an independent voice for Montanans in the U.S. House of Representatives.

      Tester and Quist are encouraging Montanans to vote early for Rob Quist at their county election offices before the Thursday, May 25th election. Voters can look up their early vote location as well as their Election Day polling place at http://www.RobQuist.org/vote.

      ***Media interested in attending events with Sen. Tester should RSVP to press@robquist.org***

      SATURDAY, May 13 – Kalispell


      WHAT: Rally for Rob Quist featuring Senator Jon Tester
      WHERE: Museum At Central School, 124 2nd Avenue, Kalispell
      WHEN: 4:30PM, Saturday, May 13, 2017

      6:00 PM

      WHAT: Flathead Spring Dems Dinner
      WHERE: Hilton Garden Inn, 1840 U.S. 93 S, Kalispell, MT
      WHEN: 6:00PM, Saturday, May 13, 2017

      SATURDAY, May 20 – Helena & Great Falls

      12:00 PM

      WHAT: Rally for Rob Quist featuring Sen. Tester and Gov. Bullock
      WHERE: Performance Square, 7 N. Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT 59601
      WHEN: 12:00PM, Saturday, May 20, 2017

      4:00 PM

      WHAT: Rally for Rob Quist featuring Sen. Tester
      WHERE: Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, 1400 1st Ave N, Great Falls, MT
      WHEN: 4:00 PM, Saturday, May 20, 2017

    • So many of the things you’ve said here are wrong.

      Yes, I absolutely believe that Trump, Daines, Zinke, and Pence would be here. Daines and Zinke both worked with Rose. See the picture at the bottom of the post?

      Governor Bullock and JON Tester are absolutely supporting Quist.

      Bernie is coming.

      Jesus, man.

    • Yes. Without a doubt I believe they would support him. Republicans have clearly shown that party over country is the most important quality.

    • Donations are a matter of record, not opinion. The question is why did Gianforte donate to openly racist candidates?

  • imo only, Dulledge and Face the State attempted to drive in a big wedge. An iron wedge seperating Mr. Gianforte’s history of discrimination support, away from we the public.

  • Bill aka Tin, you and I both know it’s one thing to take a motor apart.
    Another thing to put it all back together.
    First thing to do is improve your disassemble skills.
    Check out VP Mike Pence tomorrow.

  • That’ll be the last nail in the coffin for Quist – having Jon Tester show up for the cameras.

    You really are over the top here Pogie, attacking Rob Saunders. He’s no racist, I’ve known him and his family for many years, and used to do a lot of business with them too. Of course, ever since 2008, anybody the Dems disagree with are all racists, right? Very sad.

    Lets make a bet – if Quist loses, you quit blogging forever, and if Gianforte loses, I’ll quit blogging forever.

    Do you have the guts to take the bet?

    • You don’t blog. You haven’t blogged since you abandoned that absurd site years ago.

      Given that when you did blog you offered commentary like this:
      “Today, we have a flood of illegal immigrants, who aren’t coming here to become Americans, but simply to get jobs, and send the money back to Mexico. They don’t want to pay taxes, or have auto insurance, they are simply parasites on our economy. They don’t even want to learn English, they want bi-lingual schools in California! And the liberals are eager to please them.”

      I’m not sure you have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to racism, either.

      • A friend of mine who is a hard core main stream republican, if there is still such a thing, is so distraught over the trump Russia thing, that he said he will not be voting for Gianforte, but for Wick. He has always voted a straight republican ticket, he thinks Democrats are just parasites. I wonder how many republicans will vote Libertarian this year.

      • #1 Mexican is a nationality not a race, as Mexicans can be of Native American or Spanish descent etc. #2 Therefore one can not be “racist” against Mexicans. #3 Me, being from Tennessee originally, know full well the negative effects of illegal aliens (not “undocumented immigrants” politically correct bs). Having seen them walk into the grocery store & wheel a whole cart worth of items to the register only to swipe their EBT card to pay for it all, I always considered it was me along with all the other hardworking tax payers buying their stuff for them when they are here illegally in the first place. I never will understand how you delusional liberals will think this is ok. Not to mention the crime & drugs they bring to every community the infest.

        • How do you know they are illegal when you see them in the grocery store?
          You have a negative and insulting way of communicating with other humans? Why are you so angry?
          Do you think it’s the Right Wing media that has you group millions and millions of Americans into a group that thinks one way or another?

          Are you aware that there are an enormous amounts of Independents that may disagree with you on this topic yet are Conservative thinking on most other issues, so they don’t fall into your “Liberal” box?
          Are you aware that there are Dems that agree 100% with you?
          Are you aware that there are GOPs that disagree with you too?

          Do you fully understand what those that are fighting back at Trump really believe? And that they are far from Anti-American as you stated below? In fact, some historians would say that our Fore Fathers would agree with them? Do you know the electoral college was put in as a safety net in case people that were not politically smart voted for a bad choice that the state could reverse the decision. Hamilton wrote it. There was never supposed to be two parties, there was supposed to be many. Then who will you insult?lol j/k
          Do you watch and read regularly any Main Stream Media?

          Are you more upset about immigration than you are about Russia in our Oval Office? American media banned, Russian media allowed and the POTUS sneaking Kisyliak (in the center of investigation) into meeting and Americans finding out from Russia posting pics of POTUS laughing it up with Russians. POTUS surprised that they “tricked him”, they had said they wouldn’t share them.

          Have you done extensive research on Trump/Russia?

          • In appreciation of your comment Allison, I found your paragraphs to be a thought quality experience repeatedly workable for me. And a worthy thought experiment experience opportunity for Jody.

            Over at Cowgirl are some of this old pluggers words about what happened in our White House Oval Office yesterday.

    • Eric, if it walks like a duck…

      GG is a power obsessed cray cray man out of control. i see he just gave his campaign another Million bucks, I’m thinking he’s a little worried, maybe.

  • Sometimes I think James Conner has the right idea, Don: no comments allowed. We have a few reasonable people from both sides of the aisle who comment but too often it’s folks like Jody, above. Dull-witted trolls… “me being from Tennessee… ” These are folks I don’t have the time or inclination to debate. And what’s the point? For them, ignorance is bliss.

  • I stand corrected …..Bernie comes to Mt 20th. I would like to know why Tom Perez was rejected? Does Quist align with the Bernie independent socialists more than the democratic party?

    • If you remember, Bill, Bernie beat the more mainstream Democrat, Hillary Clinton, in the Montana primary last year. So, it would make sense for Quist to have Bernie visit instead of DNC chairman Perez.

  • No Talbot, it seems that for you ignorance is bliss. I was simply stating that it was incorrect for Mr. Pogreba to call Eric a racist. You resorted to namecalling (typical liberal behavior) instead of attempting to counter my argument. That’s ok though. I have lived in Montana pushing a decade now & everyone I have met has the same attitude concerning the pro-immigrant anti-American rhetoric coming from your side. Tell me how it is ok that the little town where I was from originally has been overrun with crime & drugs because of illegal aliens from Mexico & Guatemala stemming from not enforcing our immigration laws & protecting the border. Only when it happens here in Montana, & your wife & children have to worry about their safety will you care, not when it’s happening elsewhere. Again, for you ignorance must be bliss …

    • Please call me Pete, Jody, and I was out of line with the insult. I’m losing patience, though, with all these reactionary anti-immigration accusations, exacerbated by Trump. What I’d like to see are some links to increased crime caused by “illegal aliens,” especially in Tennessee. Also, it appears to me that the biggest drug problem — meth and opioids — is in poor, white rural America (and it is indeed a problem).

      Finally, Robert “put two rounds through the brain” Saunders is definitely a racist, and gleanings from Eric’s writings would indicate he leans that way.

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