With Montana manufacturing jobs potentially on the chopping block, Congressman Greg Gianforte is remaining silent amid the Pentagon’s recent announcement that it intends to cut $223 million from the Marine Corps F-35 program to fund the president’s wall at the Southern border.
The F-35 program – which builds fighter jets used by many branches of the military – plays a key role in supporting the Montana economy. Montana Sen. Steve Daines told KTVH Montana the F-35 program generated over $16 million in economic impact in Montana alone and supported roughly 190 jobs statewide.
In August 2019, Gianforte was on record touting the success of this military program for Montana. “It’s now on the shoulders of Congress to ensure that we buy enough of these aircraft and deliver them fast enough,” Gianforte said to KTVH Montana.
But now that the president is seeking to slash the F-35 program to fund his long-awaited wall between the U.S. and Mexico, Gianforte is standing idly by as the economic security of Montana workers and businesses hangs in the balance.
If Gianforte does support the diversion of military funding towards the border wall, it will represent a stark departure from what he told voters last year. In a radio interview in April 2019, Gianforte declared that Mexico would be paying for the border wall instead of the U.S. “In a very real sense, the Mexicans are paying for the wall,” Gianforte said on Voices of Montana.
Gianforte – who is currently vying for the GOP nomination for Governor of Montana – was first elected to Congress in 2017, one day after being arrested for assaulting a reporter. In 2016, Gianforte was the GOP nominee for governor and decisively lost to incumbent Democrat Steve Bullock.