The Republican Senator who told Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MASS) to ““take a seat” returned home to Montana this weekend, and was greeted with an unpleasant surprise.
When Senator Daines arrived in Bozeman this weekend he was confronted by angry constituents chanting “You work for us!” and demanding a town hall meeting with the Republican lawmaker.
His constituents angrily demanded an explanation for Sen. Steve Daines’ (R-MT) indefensible choice to censure the Massachusetts legislator for reading a letter by Coretta Scott King during the the confirmation debate over racist Jeff Sessions’s nomination for Attorney General.
“I think it went as well as it could,” said Robbie Gammack, Bozeman resident. “Senator Daines refuses to speak with his constituents. We are asking for a town hall meeting, we have asked that through emails, through voicemails, through his website.” Protesters said the chant was unplanned, as they aimed for a peaceful confrontation to state their concern.
“It’s important that we showed up, which we did, so that part went well,” said Betsy Swartz, Bozeman resident. “But we felt like we didn’t really get anywhere in terms of having him stop and just say a few, a few sentences to us or promise us that town hall (meeting).”
According to local news station KZBK, those same protesters waited for Democratic Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) to deplane from the same flight. When Tester arrived at the airport, the protesters greeted the Democratic Senator with expressions of gratitude for standing up to Trump and his bullies in the Senate.
A confrontation at Missoula’s airport was not the only direct action Montana residents took to voice their displeasure at Sen. Daines for supporting one of the most brazen acts of public censorship in American history.
While Warren was punished for reading the letter, our sexist Republican Senators had no objections when white male Senators Udall (D-NM) or Merkley (D-OR) read the very same letter onto the record. That is probably why Sen. Daines’ constituents made sure to let women do the speaking when they crowded his office earlier in the week to demand a town hall and to read King’s damning letter to his angry staffers.
On Wednesday afternoon, Essen and about 30 others joined Missoula Rises at Daines’ Missoula office to read King’s letter aloud. A different woman read each paragraph, with several men standing by in silent support. “Our message to Senator Daines is we are extremely disappointed in his ability to listen to his constituents, to have any dialogue with his constituents,” said Erin Erickson of Missoula Rises. “He’s essentially shutting us out, and to see him on the national stage shutting down a fellow senator is something we cannot ignore.”
Perhaps if Republicans feel so strongly that the truth about his tenure as a US Attorney – characterized by numerous acts of racism and the confirmed abuse of his office to engage in racially-motivated voter suppression – so horribly damages Jeff Sessions’ reputation, then maybe those GOP lawmakers should have withheld their votes for him to be America’s top law enforcement official.
Citizens in Montana deserve answers from their elected representative about his shameful acts of cowardly censorship. Montana’s voters shouldn’t cease questioning their Republican Senator in public until he delivers answers, an apology, his resignation for having violated the rules of the Senate participating in a cowardly partisan act of misogyny, or, all of the above.
Watch the Republican Senator’s cowardly departure here:
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition