An abysmal low
By offering a full-throated defense of some of President Trump’s vilest public statements, spineless Sen. Steve Daines has shown more starkly than ever that he needs to be voted out of office next year.
Since taking office, President Trump has smashed through countless boundaries of civilized behavior. He has done it so many times he has made Americans numb to his hateful, crude language. Yet last week he sank to a new, abysmal low, tweeting falsely about four “congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” and using a heavily worn racist trope to tell them they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
On Monday, a handful of Republicans in Congress sharply criticized Trump’s words, while most spoke in muted tones out both sides of their mouths or claimed they somehow hadn’t seen the tweets that dominated the news for all of the previous day. But Daines tainted himself like few others with his own tweet echoing Trump’s false, divisive rhetoric, labeling the same four members of Congress as “anti-American” and “anti-Semite,” and signing off with “I stand with @realdonaldtrump.”
Now, I believe most of the policy positions held by these four members of Congress are ill-informed, extreme, and unwise. But public servants who paint everyone whose politics they disagree with as “anti-American” don’t represent the Montana I know. Nor do politicians who try to defend open racism by wrongly calling its targets “anti-Semites” merely because they criticize the current Israeli administration.
Donald Trump dishonors this country by occupying its highest office, and now Steve Daines has proved beyond any doubt that he is not fit to represent Montana.
—Edward Salmon, Columbia Falls
On Daines’ tweet
Thank you, Daily Inter Lake, for printing Rabbi Laurie Franklin’s July 18 opinion “Daines joins president’s rhetoric of hate.” And, thank you Rabbi Franklin for writing an opinion that is not filled with rage or hate, yet explains your views thoughtfully.
I hope you sent the same message to Sen. Steve Daines’ office. Please let us know if he accepts your invitation.
And, to you, the editors of Daily Inter Lake, please give Sen. Daines the opportunity to express his reasons for sending his tweet.
—Susan Repa, Lakeside
An open letter to Daines
Your support of Donald Trump’s racism is the problem, not Democratic socialism, not “the squad” and not those who are working to improve this country.
America was founded on ideas of freedom and tolerance, not ideas of hate. “Like it or leave it” is not an American idea. You do not speak for me or for thousands of other Montanans when you speak words of racism and division.
—Amy Weeks, Columbia Falls
President Trump’s recent attacks on four congresswomen — all U.S. citizens — and Sen. Daines enthusiastic support are reminiscent of McCarthy-era tactics. We refuse to let others decide who is “American” or “un-American.”
I think most Montanans would agree: these are not Montana values. We reject the attempt to foment hate and divisiveness. I may disagree with some of my neighbors on political issues, but they are still my friends — not evil enemies as Trump would have us view them.
— George McLean, Kalispell
Patriot and the putz
The “Deer Hunter,” starring actor Robert DeNiro, is an epic war-drama which won Best Picture in 1978. DeNiro portrays a brave and patriotic American soldier who volunteered for Vietnam right out of high-school and performed heroically in battle. DeNiro had a spellbinding performance. But the Best Actor award that year went to Jon Voight for his performance in the anti-war film, “Coming Home.” Anti-war sentiments were rife at the time and they spilled-over into the Academy.
But it is in Hollywood where this hero-anti-hero dichotomy stops. Today the two actors’ roles are completely and irreversibly upturned. After the “Deer Hunter,” DeNiro took a series of excellent roles which cemented his reputation as a truly iconic actor. But then things drastically deteriorated. He seemed to be doing a mediocre movie a week and gradually slid into a pattern of purely perfunctory performances.
But DeNiro didn’t just slip professionally. He also deeply declined personally. He had always recited his lines impeccably and his acting was flawless. But, off the set, he’s become a creepy caricature of his picture-perfect-persona. And he’s now apparently incapable of finishing a sentence without lobbing loads of “f”-grenades at his audience as part of his vitriolic anti-Trump tirades. And it matters naught to him if young children are in the audience. Of course, his utterly-unacceptable excuse for being so insufferably foul-mouthed and ill-mannered is: “Trump!”
Jon Voight, a multi-award winning actor, is DeNiro’s polar opposite. He greatly regrets his role in the anti-war movement which led to the tragic death of 2 1/2 million innocent victims in Indo-China. And Voight may not have played a patriot like DeNiro. But he is a real-life patriot in the very best sense of that word, one who vigorously defends our country from the dishonest and disloyal attacks of the left.
—David Hadly, Kalispell