U.S Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., became just the 12th congressman to endorse presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump early Wednesday.

Zinke made the announcement on the morning cable news program “Fox and Friends.” The endorsement comes one day before Trump’s scheduled 4 p.m. Thursday appearance in Billings, where Zinke is expected to introduce Trump.

“It’s time, because this election, I think, it’s a decision point in our history,” Zinke told The Gazette. “The way I see it, America is upset on both sides. And I think the mistrust on the Democratic side is manifested by the Bernie Sanders movement. They face the same challenges, the same frustrations as the folks on the right side.

“As a Montanan, I want a person who creates jobs instead of killing coal and manufacturing jobs, who won’t be held hostage by foreign energy interests.”

Zinke said support for Trump has been slow to coalesce in the House but that lawmakers are now gathering. America is upset at Washington, he said. A businessman who won’t accept business as usual is necessary to change things up.

The endorsement is sure to draw fire from supporters of Zinke’s Democratic challenger, Denise Juneau, currently Montana superintendent of public instruction.

Democrats held a noon press conference Wednesday in Billings to talk about why they think Trump “doesn’t share Montana’s values.”

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Agriculture and Politics Reporter

Politics and agriculture reporter for The Billings Gazette.