HELENA – The air-travel cost for President Trump’s four campaign visits to Montana this year was nearly $3 million – and that doesn’t include other costs like the Secret Service and support personnel, a news website reported this week.
The website Quartz, which examined Department of Defense figures for the use of Air Force One, said the president’s air travel to more than 40 campaign rallies in support of Republican candidates this year cost about $17 million.
Air travel for his four trips to Montana totaled $2.9 million – including $1.2 million for his July 5 trip to Great Falls, the second-most expensive of his campaign flights, Quartz reported.
He also visited Billings, Missoula and Bozeman, primarily to campaign for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, who lost to Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.
It’s unclear how much of those costs are picked up by the taxpayer. So far, the president’s re-election campaign has not reported paying for any specific expenses in Montana.
A spokesman for the Federal Election Commission said if the president’s campaign incurs those costs, they should be reported.
Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign set up the rallies in Montana and elsewhere, to support Republican candidates.
The president’s re-election campaign’s latest report, which covers activity from July through September, listed zero expenses for Montana, out of the $7.7 million spent by the campaign. Trump visited Great Falls in July and Billings in September.
The Trump re-election campaign didn’t respond to questions about whether or how it is reporting the rally expenses.
Trump flew to the Montana rallies aboard Air Force One, the president’s official airplane.
Quartz said the Trump campaign reported $113,000 in “travel expenses: air” in March and April.
The report said the air-travel expense of the other Montana trips was $952,000 for flying to Missoula, $575,000 for the Billings trip, and $122,000 for the Bozeman trip, which was one of two stops for the president that day.
-Mike Dennison reporting for MTN News