Nothing new in Montana.Trump is mean, crazy, and yup, a liar.

Here are 4 news sources reporting on Trump's 6,500 person rally in Montana. More lies and madness. Clarifying who he is if you have forgotten. #Midterms2018

July 6. Linda Qiu. New York Times.


"But I will tell you, the secretary general, Stoltenberg, is Trump's biggest fan. He says, 'Those NATO nations are going like this: less money, less money. Why not? And when you started talking, it went like a rocket ship.'"

— President Trump, speaking at a campaign rally in Great Falls, Mont., on Thursday


This is exaggerated.

It's unclear what Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, has said to Mr. Trump. But the notion that Mr. Trump single-handedly and drastically reversed military spending by members is inaccurate.

As The New York Times has previously explained, each of NATO's 29 members has pledged to spend at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product on its own defense each year. Just four countries — the United States, Britain, Greece and Estonia — met that goal in 2017, according to NATO. (Poland reached 1.99 percent.)

Average spending by members other than the United States has generally been declining since the end of the Cold War, dipping to 1.4 percent of G.D.P. in 2014 and 2015 before increasing to 1.42 percent in 2016 and 1.45 percent in 2017.

So NATO members began to spend more on their militaries before Mr. Trump took office. It's possible that Mr. Trump's dedication to the issue has spurred NATO members to continue to do so, but they are also motivated by Russia's aggressive actions, experts have previously told The Times.



Mr. Trump also repeated more than a dozen false or misleading claims that The Times has previously debunked:

July 6, From David Graham, The Atlantic.

It might be backwards to say that Trump was there to campaign for Rosendale, and more accurate to say he was there to campaign against Senator Jon Tester, the state's incumbent Democrat. Tester incurred Trump's wrath when he led the public charge against the nomination of Admiral Ronny Jackson, the president's personal physician, to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. As Tester revealed, there were years of allegations of misconduct against Jackson, and the doctor eventually withdrew his nomination.

The strange thing about Trump blaming Tester for Jackson's fall is that the president acknowledged he himself deserves a great deal of the blame.

"I feel guilty. I said, 'Hey, doc, why don't you run the VA? You're a leader. You're admired,'" Trump recalled. "He said, 'If you ask, I will do it,' but he didn't really want to do it. I sort of feel guilty about this whole thing. Because what happened is, he said, 'Sir, if you would like me to do it, I'll do it.' It wasn't what he had in mind. I put him into the world of politics. How vicious is the world?"

But no matter: "Jon Tester said things about him that were horrible and weren't true," Trump insisted. He railed at Tester for supporting Democratic Party leaders, voting against tax cuts, voting against Justice Neil Gorsuch's nomination, opposing Trump's travel ban, and various other sins, real or imagined. (In an off-key moment, warm-up act Donald Trump Jr., a wealthy New Yorker, warned that Tester's donors were "New York money.")

What role Trump will play in the midterm elections remains to be seen. Typically, a congressional candidate might want a president of his party to stump for him, but this is not an easy calculation for Republicans in 2018. On the one hand, Trump remains extremely popular with members of the GOP; on the other, he remains extremely unpopular with the electorate overall.

Tester, the Democrat, opted to take an aloof approach to the incursion on his home soil. Before the rally, the Tester campaign took out ads in newspapers welcoming Trump and listing 16 bills sponsored by Tester that Trump has signed. When, during the rally, Trump bragged about signing the Tester-sponsored VA Accountability Act (without mentioning Tester's role), the senator's campaign blasted it to reporters. A post-rally statement swiped at Rosendale but didn't mention Trump at all.

Trump also spoke at length about the economy, using a mix of real statistics (unemployment claims are indeed at a 45-year low) and bogus ones (wages are not on the rise for the first time in 18 years). As I've written previously, one would expect any president overseeing an economy doing as well as this one to talk about it constantly, and Trump fitfully does so, but he never manages to stay on message for long.Sitting alongside these ordinary campaign messages was a heap of strange remarks. First, there were the simple lies. Military spending is not at record levels. Trump was not the first Republican to win Wisconsin since Dwight Eisenhower. His tax cuts are not the largest ever. People aren't flocking to sign up for association health plans for the simple reason that they are not enrolling yet. These lies are no less appalling than they were in the past, but they have become less interesting.

Second, there were the things that don't make sense. Trump claimed, all evidence to the contrary, that he is good at getting legislation passed. Early in the speech, he said that his critics failed to understand the value of getting along well with China and Russia; later on, he railed against China's trade policies at length. ("They have been killing us.") Trump mocked critics who claim that Russian President Vladimir "Putin is KGB." Putin was in fact a long-serving KGB agent, and later directed the FSB, its successor. Trump complained about journalists using anonymous sources, something he claimed hadn't happened in the past—eliciting chortles from journalists for whom he has been an anonymous source. (Anyone expecting Trump to tone down his rhetorical attacks on journalists after the shooting at a newspaper office in Annapolis was, in addition to being naive, disappointed: "Seventy-five percent of those people are downright dishonest.")

Finally, there was the bizarre. In the midst of criticizing Senator Elizabeth Warren, Trump—who has been caught on tape boasting about sexually assaulting women—paused to mock the #MeToo movement. Apropos of nothing, he puzzled over the meaning of George H.W. Bush's "Thousand Points of Light." He appeared (it was hard to follow the thread) to compare the size of his crowds to Elton John's: "I have broken more Elton John records...and I don't have a musical instrument. I don't have a guitar or an organ. No organ. Elton has an organ."

July 6. Felicia Somnez. Washington Post.

President Trump joked about the #MeToo movement Thursday, making light of the international campaign against sexual assault during a wide-ranging speech in which he also took aim at a potential 2020 White House opponent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

At a rally in Great Falls, Mont., Trump deployed his familiar nickname of "Pocahontas" for Warren, which he has repeatedly used to mock the Massachusetts Democrat for her claims of Native American ancestry.

Trump imagined himself sparring with Warren on the debate stage and told the crowd that he would toss her a DNA kit, "but we have to do it gently because we're in the #MeToo generation, so we have to be very gentle."

He then made a throwing motion and said that "we will very gently take that kit, and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn't hit her and injure her arm."

July 6. Stephen A. Crockett, Jr. The Root.

Trump not only poked at the #MeToo movement, he straight up said that he doesn't believe several young men who claimed that during their time with the Ohio State University's wrestling team, they were sexually harassed and that Rep. Jim Jordan, who worked as a wrestling coach at the university, not only knew, he did nothing to stop it.

"I don't believe them at all," Trump said of the sexual-assault allegations. "I believe him," CNN reports.

And because Trump was on a roll working his racist, xenophobic, sexist base into a lather, he took a moment to attack U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters' IQ.

Trump said. "I said it the other day, yes, she is a low IQ individual, Maxine Waters. I said it the other day. I mean, honestly she is somewhere in the mid-60s. I believe that."

July 6. Anne Helen Petersen. Buzzfeed.

Halfway through his remarks, Trump declared that he won Montana "by so many points that I don't have to come here!" Shortly before, detailing all the ways he believes Tester had failed the people of Montana, he asked the crowd, "How did Tester even get elected here?" And while Trump won the state by 20 points, both statements point to a misunderstanding of Montana politics and voters, and Tester's chances in the fall. Trump attracted a capacity crowd of 6,600 in Great Falls — a crowd that cheered for subjects as various as meeting with Vladimir Putin, locking Hillary Clinton up, "beautiful clean coal," job creation, the end of the Paris Climate Accord, and the press being "really bad people." But Trump's misread of both Great Falls and Montana speaks directly to the very real challenges that GOP candidates face in the midterms — especially those running in places often misleadingly labeled as "red states."

Depending on who you talk to, Great Falls is a Trump stronghold or the seat of a highly contested county, a place the president understands as crucial to his 2016 win and to any Republican who runs in this state. The reality is a little more complicated: In 2016, Trump won Cascade County with 57% of the vote. But in 2008, Barack Obama won with 49.9%. Bill Clinton won in 1992 and 1996. Trump's own win in 2016 was offset by 8% of the county who voted for an independent candidate. That same year, Steve Bullock, the state's Democratic governor, won the county handily, with 54% of the vote. And back in 2012, Tester beat his Republican opponent here by 10%.

Post Script. Here are the urls for each article quoted, in case you want to read the full pieces.

The New York Times.

The Atlantic.

Washington Post.

The Root.


This is my favorite section of the speech. Huh? Trump is insane as well as evil.

Show Comments ()


Follow Us On


On Social