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2020 Senate Race Featured Montana Politics Steve Daines

Steve Daines is Silent as a Saudi Airman Kills Three Americans and President Trump Deflects Blame

When Barack Obama was President, conservatives like Montana’s Senator Steve Daines were obsessed with three words:

Radical. Islamic Terror.

Fueled by the nitwits at Fox News, Republicans howled that the President’s refusal to demonize an entire religion was either some sort of signal that he was weak on terrorism or even supportive of it. Back in 2016, Donald Trump extended the criticism to Hillary Clinton and the President:

Trump then said that Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama won’t correctly define the problem.”These are radical Islamic terrorists and she won’t even mention the word, and nor will President Obama. He won’t use the term ‘radical Islamic terrorism,'” Trump said during the Oct. 9 debate at Washington University in St. Louis. “Now, to solve a problem, you have to be able to state what the problem is or at least say the name. She won’t say the name and President Obama won’t say the name. But the name is there. It’s radical Islamic terror.”

Always eager to join small-minded bigotry, Senator Steve Daines also eagerly spent a portion of the Obama administration condemning the President for not naming the threat as an Islamic one, complaining on his Senate page and bravely appearing on Fox News to restate the talking points they’d provided him.

All that makes the Senator’s silence in the wake of the attack by a member of the Saudi Air Force that killed three Americans at a naval base this week all the more pathetic.

Despite offering lip service to veterans on other posts, Daines couldn’t even be bothered to post even his boilerplate “thoughts and prayers” for those killed in Pensacola on his Facebook page, Twitter, or official Senate page, even though all three were active-duty servicemembers.

And Daines certainly didn’t condemn the attack as an example of “Islamic terrorism.”

While Daines was silent about both the victims and their attacker, President Trump has spent the past few days praising the Saudi king, as those well-known liberals at Business Insider, journalists at CNBC, and Popular Information’s Judd Legum note:

No words condemning radical Islam there, just as there was no meaningful criticism of the Saudi regime when it murdered Jamal Khashoggi—and yet Steve Daines has not criticized the President for his willingness to appease the Saudi regime.

As David Sanger writes in the New York Times:

“If Trump wants to convey condolences from Saudi King Salman, fine,” Mr. Miller wrote on Twitter after the shooting. “But you don’t do it on day — Americans are killed — untethered from a message of ironclad assurances from King to provide” whatever cooperation is necessary to understand the gunman and his motives. “Otherwise Trump sounds like what he has become — a Saudi apologist.”

No principled condemnation from Senator Daines on that front, no concern about the failure of the administration to use specific phrases here, just the typical, craven obeisance to Donald Trump and silence in the face of another mass killing that have come to define our very junior Senator.

Slain American servicemen don’t even merit comment from Senator Daines.

A President more interested in protecting his business relationships with the despotic Saudi regime than in informing and comforting a nation doesn’t merit condemnation, according to Senator Daines.

Montana deserves better than Senator Daines.

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.

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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  • I have been irreparably affected by the limitless hypocrisy of the Republican party. I will never rejoin them. My entire circle of friends from the military feels the same.

  • Daines is pretty quiet about this anointed ruler parading around with his three pardoned war criminals. The disgraced US service members that were all convicted of murder by military tribunals. They were all brought to a big fund rally.

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