Trump Jr. Slated to Stump for GOP in Kalispell on Saturday

The son of President Donald Trump has been a perennial election-year supporter of Montana's GOP candidates, including Steve Daines and Greg Gianforte

By Tristan Scott
From left: Sen. Steve Daines, U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, Donald Trump Jr. and former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke pose for a picture for supporters during a campaign event in Kalispell on April 21, 2017. Beacon File Photo

With Election Day around the corner, the president’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. will visit Kalispell on Saturday to rally support for Montana’s slate of GOP candidates.

Trump Jr. will appear as the keynote speaker at a Halloween rally set to take place at the Flathead County Fairgrounds grandstand at 6 p.m. The outdoor event has limited seating and is free to the public.

Organizers with the Flathead County Republican Party billed the event as a “Get Out the Vote” rally to build support for Republican candidates leading up to Election Day on Nov. 3, including U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte and State Auditor Matt Rosendale, all three of whom are locked in tight races.

Daines is seeking reelection to a second term in the Senate, while Gianforte is running for governor and Rosendale is hoping to win a bid for the open at-large congressional seat.

The timing of the rally has raised concerns about whether it’s in the best interest of public health, including from Gov. Steve Bullock’s U.S. Senate campaign, particularly as Montana health officials reported 1,063 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, marking a new record, while Flathead County officials confirmed 140 new cases, by far the largest single-day total since the outbreak began.

On Monday, Flathead County health officials will meet to determine whether it’s necessary to set additional restrictions on indoor gatherings of more than 500 people.

But organizers of Saturday’s event said it is being held in an outdoor venue and social distancing will be a priority.

The surge of new cases hasn’t slowed the momentum of GOP rallies as Election Day nears, however, with Daines, Gianforte and Rosendale appearing at recent events that have attracted hundreds of attendees while featuring high-profile members of the Republican party like U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who appeared at rallies in Hamilton and Billings on Thursday.

According to a campaign spokesman for Bullock, the Democrat whose bid to unseat Daines has imbued the race with national significance, continuing to hold the rallies without conferring with local health departments places the public at risk.

“Our campaign works with local public health officials ahead of each of our events to ensure that we are keeping attendees safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Sean Manning, the campaign spokesman, said.

The Flathead County Republican Party advertised the event as beginning promptly at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Flathead County Fairgrounds, and encouraged attendees to dress warmly.

Visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rally-with-donald-trump-jr-and-steve-daines-tickets-127242767543.

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