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President Trump visits Billings

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines speaks at a Make America Great Again rally at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings on Sept. 6.

There is no shortage of fools in Washington, D.C.

Or even in Montana.

Because fools, as the saying goes, rush in where wise men fear to tread.

Wise men, or even those with common sense, would see President Donald Trump's most recent Twitter tirade and back away.

While we thank our Congressional delegation for at least answering the questions posed to them by Lee Montana reporters about the President's pejorative Tweets, we wonder why folks like Montana Sen. Steve Daines weighed in at all.

Responding to a Tweet in which Donald Trump told Democrats to go back to the country they came from, Daines said, "Montanans are sick and tired of listening to anti-American, anti-Semite, radical Democrats trash our country and our ideals. We’re the greatest country in the world. I stand with @realdonaldtrump.”

But Montanans are more sickened by the never-ending torrent of childish, bigoted views that are shoveled from the White House that make the country look like bigots and idiots. And we're nauseous when folks like Daines invoke our state in defending a spoiled New York developer who would get tongue-lashed by most Montanans for the way he takes to Twitter.

Sen. Daines, please stop defending the indefensible. You don't represent Donald Trump, you represent us. If there's one thing Montanans hold dear, it's our right to think independently. We've always valued a diversity of opinions and people. Trump's views are decidedly against that. It has nothing to do with political party and everything to do with the tolerance that values living,  and allowing others to live freely.

We'd also point out that part of any elected official's job is to clarify, call out and address problems in the system. To castigate representatives for doing their job by offering constructive criticism seems to completely miss the point of why we have representative government in the first place.

To make matters worse, Daines' chief of staff decided to applaud his boss by commenting, “America: Love It Or Leave It.”

Well, we love America enough to question it. And we're not going anywhere.

Leaving something, as Daines' staffer suggests, is not Montanan. We don't quit just because something is difficult. Once again, Daines demonstrates how out-of-touch he is with true Montana values. 

Besides it being a terribly unoriginal cliche -- love it or leave it is emblematic of all that's wrong with the polarity in politics. This represents the gridlock that keeps Washington, D.C., from getting anything accomplished. We can't fix anything as long as the stakes are all or nothing.

We're also disturbed that Daines seems to believe that honest disagreement and passionately held beliefs somehow mean that Democrats are un-American. Forgive us Senator, but debate and disagreement are among the greatest strengths of our political system. To characterize those with whom you disagree as hating America seems like a return to the red scare of the McCarthy era and witch hunting at its best.

We don't understand why Daines felt the need to do anything but let Trump's mean-spirited and fact-free Tweets speak for themselves. Instead, Daines showed that he's more interested in being a sycophant rather than a senator.

Foolishly, Daines has rushed in when he should have let Trump speak -- or bluster-- for himself. 

Once again, Sen. Daines, when you speak you are indeed representing Montana, but you are not necessarily reflecting it. We are a big sky state, and we have more room for diversity, tolerance and a difference of opinions than you let the rest of the world see by your tweets. We're proud of our diversity and you may stand with the "the real Donald Trump," but we condemn his intolerance, and would hope you'd take the opportunity for real leadership and distance yourself.

It's also important to note one of Daines' challengers is Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins. Is Daines suggesting that he go back to Liberia? If he stands with Trump, we must assume he supports this view.

"I served this country for over 20 years in the U.S. Armed Forces and I will serve this country until the day I die. When I arrived in Helena, Montana as a Liberian refugee 25 years ago, I knew I'd spend my life giving back to this country," Collins said. 

We think Daines should be careful about backing Trump too much. If Daines really believes that people should go back to where they came from, then that means Daines should start packing for California where he was born.  

And we bet he'd take exception to that statement.

Yet, if Daines thinks Trump's leadership is really good enough to follow, we'll gladly loan him to the Golden State.  

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