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Montana Reps Divided On Party Lines Over War Powers Resolution

Sen. Steve Daines at President Trump's rally at Missoula International Airport. Oct. 18, 2018.
Josh Burnham
Montana Public Radio
Sen. Steve Daines at President Trump's rally at Missoula International Airport. Oct. 18, 2018.

The Republican members of Montana’s congressional delegation are offering unwavering support of President Trump after the assassination of Iran’s Military General Qasem Soleimani. But others are questioning the situation.

Republican Sen. Steve Daines and House Rep. Greg Gianforte are both closely aligning themselves with President Trump following Soleimani’s killing, and briefings with Congress this week. Both say there was sufficient evidence to support Trump’s actions. Daines said in an emailed statement, “The President, as Commander in Chief, has the authority and responsibility to protect Americans facing imminent danger.”

About 30 people gathered outside of Daines’ Missoula office Thursday evening to protest his response. Erin Erickson, director of the local left-leaning activist group Missoula Rises helped organize the short event because she says Trump didn’t have the evidence to support his decision.

"My preference would be before our president takes a reckless action, which seems to be a diversion from the impeachment proceedings, that he, first of all, have congressional authorization and that the imminent threat be present."

In response, Daines said, “It’s disheartening to see Missoula Rising mourning the death of a terrorist who killed over 600 Americans,”

Montana’s Democratic Sen. Jon Tester has a starkly different view on the Trump administration’s briefings with Congress. He says the evidence presented talked about general threats in the region, but nothing specific.

"What was the intelligence that was out there that said we have to do this now or something else is going to happen and if we take him out, that will stop? None of that information was given to us."

Trump said in an interview Friday that Soleimani was planning attacks at four U.S. embassies in the Middle East.

Tester is signing-on to Democratic Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine’s resolution to limit Trump’s war powers when it comes to Iran. Tester says the resolution solidifies Congress’ constitutional powers of war. Some Republican senators have voiced support for the measure, but Trump has railed against the move on Twitter.

Copyright 2020 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Aaron is Montana Public Radio's Flathead reporter.