Tester a Top Target Again, According to GOP | NTK Network Tester a Top Target Again, According to GOP

Tester a Top Target Again, According to GOP

The Montana senator publicly disclosed unverified allegations against Trump’s nominee for VA secretary. Now, he’s going to pay a “big price,” Trump says.

By NTK Staff | 04.27.2018 @11:00am
Tester a Top Target Again, According to GOP

With any luck, Sen. Jon Tester maybe could have skated through the 2018 midterms and safely earned another term. Those prospects dimmed considerably this week after President Trump pledged to make Tester pay a “big price” in Montana for maligning White House physician Ronny Jackson.

Trump nominated Jackson to serve as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs last month to replace outgoing secretary David Shulkin. But that all changed this week after Jackson removed himself from consideration after unsubstantiated reports surfaced regarding his tenure at the White House.

The Montana Democrat told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that around 20 people raised concerns to his committee about Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, and according to those people, Jackson would hand out prescriptions “like candy.”

Tester described reports to the Veterans’ Affairs Committee that alleged that on overseas trips, Jackson would “go down the aisle way of the airplane and say, ‘All right, who wants to go to sleep?’ And hand out the prescription drugs like they were candy … and put them to sleep and then give them the drugs to wake them back up again.”

Tester’s staff told CNN that Jackson would hand out Ambien and Provigil.

Jackson is also accused of being drunk while on an overseas trip with President Obama. Trump defended Jackson on “Fox & Friends” this week, citing positive reviews of his work under Presidents Bush and Obama.

The claims against Jackson have not been proven or fully vetted, but that didn’t stop Tester from speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on national television about them. That drew criticism from Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, who initially broke the story about Jackson but refused to published the allegations because they could not be verified.

Now Trump and some Republicans are on the war path.

Trump is vowing that Tester will pay a steep political price for his takedown of VA nominee Ronny Jackson, especially given the president’s 2016 victory in Montana by 20 points — and it’s an argument being echoed by Republicans.

“I don’t think you want to be the tip of the spear of the anti-Trump movement in a state that voted so overwhelmingly for President Trump,” said a senior Senate GOP aide.

Tester has never earned more than 49 percent of the vote, according to The Hill. If Trump decides to make Tester a top target in a state in which he won by 20 points, he could make Tester’s reelection chances much more difficult.

“There’s no way that Jon Tester has an easy path to victory in the fall,” one Montana political science professor said.

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