Greg Gianforte House 2018 Montana Politics

Greg Gianforte Threatens Ryan Zinke’s Montana Flip-Flop Record

There are more than a few rumors that Greg Gianforte hates being a member of Congress enough that he’s considered not running again. I’d never taken them too seriously, but after today’s story in the Independent Record, one has to wonder whether Gianforte is hoping that the people of Montana will just vote him out of office so he won’t have to decide.

According to the IR, Gianforte has decided that he doesn’t support allowing bikes in wilderness areas—even though he voted for a measure allowing them late last year.

During the second week of December, Gianforte voted to allow “motorized wheelchairs, non-motorized wheelchairs, non-motorized bicycles, strollers, wheelbarrows, survey wheels, measuring wheels, or game carts” in wilderness areas, because nothing speaks about enjoying the pristine wonders of wilderness quite like someone rolling by on their bicycle with a stroller attached.

The committee vote was close, too, only winning passing 22-18. It seems almost certain that Gianforte could have used his wilderness experience to persuade other members of the committee or, barring that, threatened them with physical violence to vote against the measure because, Gianforte wants us to believe he opposes wheeled transportation in those areas.

Now. Sort of. Maybe.

The IR offered this explanation from Gianforte:

After earlier voting for a bill that would allow bikes in wilderness areas, Montana’s lone congressman, Republican Greg Gianforte, says his views have changed and he no longer supports the legislation.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in the backcountry, and I’ve always believed that travel in the backcountry should be foot or horseback,” he said Monday.

Now, I’m no multi-millionaire, but I do know what the word “always” means. If Gianforte has “always” believed that wilderness travel should be on foot or horseback, did he vote against his beliefs—and the opinions of most Montanans—or did he simply not understand the one sentence of text he needed to read to understand the amendment?

While both are certainly possible, the real answer seems rather obvious: Gianforte, who has certainly faced criticism for his position and practices on public lands, hoped he could pull a fast one and got caught.

No matter what the explanation is, it’s hard to trust a person who literally speaks out against his own vote weeks after he made it. Maybe the rumors are right. Let’s help Greg leave D.C. for good.

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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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