Trump trips to Montana cost taxpayers $2.69 million and counting

MSN News posted the costs of three of the four Air Force One trips Trump made to Montana trying to unseat Sen. Jon Tester.

The president flew to more than 40 political rallies before the midterm elections, the most expensive being to Las Vegas at a cost of $1.3 million, but:

The second-most expensive single trip, based on estimated flight costs, was a $1.2 million trip on July 5 for Montana’s Matt Rosendale. Trump held a second rally for Rosendale on Sept. 6 that cost an estimated $550,000 in air travel, and a third rally on Oct. 18 that racked up an estimated $940,000.

The costs so far have been borne almost completely by US taxpayers.

Those three trips totaled $2.69 million. For some reason, MSN News did not include Trump’s final Montana trip to Bozeman on Nov. 3. The average cost of the three earlier trips is about $900,000. Add that figure to the Great Falls, Billings and Missoula trips for a total of $3.6 million.

To put that amount in perspective, $3.6 million would pretty much cover the state’s share of the cost of Medicaid Expansion for a year (had the I-185 tobacco tax passed), according to a Lee Newspapers story.

In fiscal year 2021, if the tax passes, the state’s share of expansion is expected to be $2.8 million and in the following year it’s predicted to be $3.2 million and then $3.7 million in subsequent years.

The hypocrisy of Trump and the “fiscally responsible” GOP for not calling out the president for the campaign rallies is apparent. Here’s Trump back in 2016:





One time, Barack Obama used Air Force One to fly with Hillary Clinton to a July 2016 campaign rally in North Carolina. The Clinton campaign reimbursed the US government $37,000.

The outcome of Trump’s trips to Montana is Tester beating challenger Rosendale 50.1 – 47 percent. Some pundits believe the campaign rallies did more to turn out Democrats than to boost Rosendale’s numbers. I’m not sure about that: Rosendale was a flawed candidate up against a well-financed incumbent with real Montana appeal, but as the Wall Street Journal reports, “…in a political rarity, fifteen counties in Montana produced more votes in last week’s election than in 2016.”

How the votes broke down in those fifteen counties, Democrats v. Republicans, has yet to be analyzed. However one looks at it, though, Trump’s trips were a colossal waste of taxpayer money.


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

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.


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