Irony died today in Montana politics, struck down in its prime by Travis Hall, the Communications Director for Greg Gianforte.
Mr. Hall, it seems, was offended that I didn’t include his Twitter handle in a series of posts criticizing him for seeming to have spent his day tweeting about letters to the editor extolling the virtues of his boss as a candidate for Montana’s next governor.
So upset was he that he called me a coward:
You use Tweetdeck, too? Scheduling function is pretty great, huh?
— Travis Hall (@traviswhall) November 14, 2019
I’m prepared to concede that Mr. Hall did not send all the partisan tweets about the Montana gubernatorial race during his taxpayer-financed workday, though a screenshot of one clearly illustrates that he’s not telling the whole truth about having used a web app to schedule the tweets. I’ll concede the point, though, because sad as the idea of someone being paid to sit in his Congressional office tweeting out letters to the editor is, there’s perhaps nothing sadder to imagine in this world than someone admitting to spending his free time gathering and tweeting those letters. That’s 1960s Swedish existential cinema level grim.
But what I can’t abide is Mr. Hall’s suggestion that I am a “keyboard coward,” given that he works for perhaps the most craven politician ever to hold office in Montana. Let’s consider the evidence:
- Congressman Gianforte refuses to hold public town halls with constituents, preferring to hide behind call screeners and spam phone calls. Perhaps Mr. Hall should direct some of his ire towards the switchboard coward he works for rather than a constituent.
- In fact, Gianforte’s office told a constituent that the Congressman won’t pre-announce meetings with the Montana public because of safety concerns.
- Despite promising in court that he would meet with Ben Jacobs, the reporter he assaulted, Gianforte reneged on his promise for an on-the-record meeting, perhaps afraid that he’d attack Jacobs again.
- After he assaulted Jacobs, Gianforte hid behind a spokesperson who lied about the attack, blaming the victim for what Gianforte himself had done.
- Gianforte is so afraid of facing the people of Montana that he’s ducking a debate with his GOP primary opponents in Helena. I was actually unaware that a person could be that afraid.
- Gianforte’s cowardice is so great, in fact, that even though he’s claiming to have a massive lead over his primary opponents, he’s resorted to lying about both Fox and Olszewski’s political positions and even the offices they’re running for to clear the field for himself. Just ask Fox and Olszewski, who have both dishonest claims spread by the Gianforte campaign.
- Gianforte is so afraid of dissenting views that when he holds a meeting he claims is intended to bring together stakeholders interested in Montana forests he deliberately excludes those who disagree with his views.
- Gianforte is even so afraid of the truth that he uses Congressional resources to send out sham poll questions via e-mail that only let constituents answer if they select the answer he wants to hear.
Most important, though, is the cowardice Gianforte has shown as our representative in Washington. Even though his support for Donald Trump was almost non-existent before Trump was elected President in 2016, once Gianforte realized that the Trump train was the only thing going in contemporary Republican politics, he became one of the Trump’s most obsequious sycophants, cheering him on at rallies and offering an almost-constant stream of praise for the President.
When Trump’s trade policy harmed Montana farmers, cowardly Greg Gianforte cheered them on. When Trump threatened the viability of our most important alliances, gutless Greg Gianforte praised him. When Trump emboldened dictators, deserted our Kurdish allies, undermined American credibility abroad, and repeatedly broke the law, our Congressional poltroon couldn’t find the ounce of courage necessary to stand up for American values or American security.
Those are all the acts of a coward: one who lacks the political courage necessary to face those who disagree with him, and even more damning, the moral courage to stand up to a President we all know he doesn’t support other than for political expedience.
If insulting a constituent makes the Comms Director for Congressman Gianforte feel better about himself, I can’t begrudge him that—the man just admitted that he spends his free time tweeting letters to the editor for his boss after all. He needs whatever boost the world can offer him.
But insulting this constituent doesn’t change a far more salient fact: Congressman Gianforte is perhaps more afraid of his constituents than anything anyone else has ever been afraid of, and he should be, because the more we see of him, the more we hear, the less we want him to represent or lead us.
Note to Mr. Hall. This post was set to auto-post at 9:17 a.m.