Daines stands with Trump amid Twitter attacks; Tester, challengers condemn remarks

Montana’s two U.S. senators joined the national debate over President Donald Trump’s recent Twitter attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color – a smear seen as racist by many and a strategic campaign ploy by others.

While a small number of Republicans have condemned Trump’s comments, including Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Susan Collins of Maine, most rank-and-file party members have remained quiet amid the fallout.

Sen. Steve Daines doubled down on his support for the president late Monday, saying on Twitter that he “stands with @realDonaldTrump.” Daines is currently up for reelection.

“Montanans are sick and tired of listening to anti-American, anti-Semite, radical Democrats trash our country and our ideals,” Daines tweeted. “This is America. We’re the greatest country in the world.”

Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins, who is challenging Daines for his seat, also joined the twitter debate. Collins, a refugee who fled the Liberian civil war in 1994, became the first African American elected as mayor of a Montana city.

He criticized Daines for turning a deaf ear to the president’s remarks and the perceived meaning behind them.

“I served this country for over 20 years in the U.S. Armed Forces,” Collins tweeted. “Does @SteveDaines think I should ‘go back to where I came from,’ too?”

Trump also has doubled down on his tweets, which began Sunday when he urged the four congresswomen to “go back” to the countries from where they came. All four are American citizens and three were born in the U.S.

Sen. Jon Tester, who won reelection in Montana last year, took a more moderate tone while chastising Trump’s tweets.

“We should be able to disagree on policy and politics without devolving into divisive, hateful rhetoric,” he tweeted Monday night. “President Trump’s comments were reprehensible and far beneath the office of the Presidency.”