Gianforte Refuses Again To Answer Whether He Supports Evictions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Greg Gianforte—who wants Montanans to believe that he is prepared and compassionate enough to lead the state as its governor—has refused for the second time in less than a week to answer whether he supports Governor Bullock’s order restricting evictions and foreclosures in the state of Montana.

Asked by constituent Jackson Wetherill whether he supports the order, Gianforte managed to muddle through an answer saying that he wouldn’t “second-guess” Bullock but refused to answer the question, one of huge importance for Montanans facing the potential loss of their homes during the crisis, and a question that is, unfortunately, likely to come up again next fall and winter under a new administration.

With Gianforte, one is tempted to dismiss his refusal to answer as part of the fundamental cowardice of this campaign. Perhaps realizing how deeply unpopular and unlikeable he is, Gianforte seems to have accepted campaign coaching that tells him never to answer a question directly. Instead, he talks about his close relationship with President Trump, his support for business, and the small businesses he’s created.

And it’s that last note that makes me wonder whether there isn’t a financial motivation driving Gianforte’s refusal to support renters in this challenging time. Gianforte, according to his 2018 Financial Disclosure form, was, along with his partner Steve Daines, the owner of 10 acres of “residential rental realty” in Bozeman, MT. And he certainly still could be one.

You might be thinking such a small rental interest wouldn’t be enough to cause Gianforte to refuse to support struggling Montanans, but to echo a point I made earlier today, he’s the same person who, with a net worth over $100 million, underpaid his property taxes while running for Governor last time.

This is no academic question. The Montana Landlords Association issued a threat to sue Governor Bullock today over the order. Voters—and constituents—deserve to know whether Gianforte stands with those facing financial ruin and homelessness or whether he stands with the landlords.

When you’re governor, you don’t get to pretend not to have an opinion. You have to lead, not equivocate.

Whether it’s cowardice, political calculation, or even pecuniary interest that makes it so difficult for Greg Gianforte to answer a question, it’s time for the press to demand he does so. The next governor of Montana is going to face hard questions about evictions, public health, and limitations on our personal freedoms to help control the spread of COVID-19 when it reappears.

An informed electorate depends on an active press demanding we know what our response will look like under Greg Gianforte.

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

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.

10 Comments

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  • I call his DC office every day to solicit a concrete position from him – yea or nay. I even provide an out – either declare his position or explain why he DOESN’T have a position on such a bedrock issue.

    So far ………….crickets.

  • What part of he is not going to “second guess” do you not understand? Does he need to speak slower for you guys? No armchair idiot quarterbacking like experts Adam Schiff, CNN, MSDNC, and Joy Behar. Even Joe Biden who called President Trump travel ban xenophobia is now supporting it. Are you good at modeling? How many more would you have killed for an extension of the travel ban and your team busy was playing the impeachment game? Contrary to you clowns, this is a time to work together and cut the hate and divide. Like I said, no one cares.

      • No he does not or he would let you know. This is not the time to divide. He is a team player even if the one calling the shots is pretty much worthless, but he does have the guidance of other states so pretty difficult to even screw this up. Maybe you should try Fox and other outlets so form your own thoughts rather then the group thought. You might be surprised what else is being discussed. Just to let you know Al Gore was a public servant for 24 years. Please vote for me because I could probably not get a real job.

        • “No he does not or he would let you know.”
          And you know this how? He hasn’t said one way or the other.
          If, as you say, “he does not”, why doesn’t he come out and say it?

      • Claudius, no one really cares for these crazy extreme left comments here other than for entertainment. You are probably doing more for Trumps reelection than many others. Feel the Bern….

        • I want to hear what the Dems have done? Crickets here. Tell me about Tester, Pelosi, Schumer, and Shiff. I am all ears? In fact lets make this from 2016 on and CV-19. How about telling every here about their great accomplishments.

          • You should get a blog and offer your deep insights. You’re refusal to address the content of the post here suggests you’ve got real insight you could share.

        • Boy, are you wrong about this one – tom with a little “t”! LOTS of people care about this and other extreme right issues, and it ain’t for entertainment value. You who watch Faux news are the ones who can’t see the forest for the trees!

          Trump makes all his decisions based on what his Friends on Fox say in the morning – this is well known. No common sense.

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