Perhaps we have been unfair with the “Maryland Matt” moniker. The past twenty-four hours suggest that, while Mr. Rosendale’s loyalty certainly isn’t to Montana, it lies much farther east than the Maryland shore.
As people across the political spectrum in the United States expressed shock, horror, and outrage at the spectacle of an American president doing his best Neville Chamberlain impersonation in front of a murdering Russian thug, Matt Rosendale was silent. His normally quite exuberant, if grammatically-challenged, Twitter feed hurled out one #MAGA tweet, but there was no comment from the Senate candidate following the spectacle of American abasement or the quisling President who insulted our intelligence community and law enforcement while seeming to seriously entertain the idea of letting the Russian criminals who interfered with our elections help investigate the crime.
Hours after the Montana delegation weighed in on Trump’s remarks in the Montana media, Rosendale came out to offer support for the President:
The Republican Senate candidate Trump came to Montana to campaign for, State Auditor Matt Rosendale, said after Trump’s news conference with Putin that he supports the president’s meeting with the Russian president.
That’s an indefensible position to take, and you certainly don’t have to take my word for it. John McCain might have offered the best take on the meeting, tweeting “Today’s press conference in #Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” Even the state media presenters at Fox News were stunned by the President’s performance, with commentators on their website noting that Trump was siding with a country that attacked the United States:
For a sitting U.S. president to say publicly that he believes a foreign leader over his own intelligence team is shocking and admonishable. At a time when our democracy faces grave threats, it is deeply troubling that the president would side with the very country who attacked us.
Additionally, Trump’s failure to distinguish between campaign collusion and Russia’s blatant attack on our democracy allowed Putin to sow more discord during the press conference.
If it wasn’t obvious before this meeting that Putin has something on Trump—my theory is that Russian oligarchs bailed him out of another bankruptcy at some point rather than the mythical pee tape—it was clear after Helsinki. In normal times, with a Republican Party more concerned about the American republic than appeasing an increasingly dangerous base, we’d be having serious conversations about impeachment today.
And still Matt Rosendale’s first instinct was to defend the President and help him offer cover for Putin.
I understand the bind that Rosendale is in. With a campaign devoid of ideas other than blind adherence to the Trump cult of personality, he has little choice other than to offer support to the President, but if he was willing to defend yesterday’s performance, one has to wonder if there are any limits to Rosendale’s allegiance? After the embarrassment of the North Korea summit, the betrayal of American values at Helsinki, and the corruption surrounding Trump and his cabinet, is there anything that would cause Mr. Rosendale to put Montana ahead of blind allegiance to Trump?
It would appear not. And that, perhaps more than any other reason, is why Montana cannot afford to elect Mr. Rosendale to the Senate. As the foreign policy and constitutional crises that Trump generates grow more powerful and damaging, the nation—and our state—need an independent voice like Jon Tester investigating and speaking out, not a cur willing to excuse and defend the worst abuses of a president who is so clearly compromised and unfit for the job.