Montana analyst: Trump more chihuahua than bear in spat with Tester

Posted at 10:18 AM, May 01, 2018

BILLINGS – As President Trump vents his anger with Democratic Sen. Jon Tester on Twitter, one political analyst believes the spat could actually help the Montana Democrat in the long run.

Montana State University Professor David Parker, an MTN political analyst, noted some experts are saying Tester "poked the bear" when he made such hard case against Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, Ronny Jackson.

"Well as we’ve seen in these elections over the past year, Jon Tester should not be afraid of President Trump at all. And he’s hardly a bear… he’s more like a Chihuahua, full of sound and fury and signifying very little. I can’t imagine that Montanans are going to look at Trump and look at his characterizations of Tester and think that they’re anywhere near accurate," Parker said. 

Tester is the ranking minority member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Last week, he released a list of allegations from service members that Jackson, the president’s physician, oversaw a hostile workplace, over-prescribed pain medication to White House staff and drank alcohol while on duty.

Trump has taken aim at Tester over the weekend, calling for him to resign. Tester is facing a possible tough fight for re-election in November in a state that Trump won in 2016 by 20 points, but Parker said this spat likely won’t do any harm.

"So, in this case, I don’t think it matters too much. And, if anything, I might suggest that it might actually help (Tester). It might help rally his base, help among independents who don’t really like the president. It might even help among some Republicans who never really got on the ‘Trump train’ to begin with," Parker said.

Parker went on to say he believes the Trump/Tester feud will lead to a big infusion of new out-of-state spending in Montana’s Senate race, particularly on TV, both for and against Tester.

He also says he expects new polling in Montana’s Senate race soon to see if the entire Ronny Jackson matter moves the needle, one way or the other.