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Trump trashes Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in Montana campaign rally

The president hit Tester for his involvement in thwarting Ronny Jackson, Trump's choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a "Make America Great Again" rally at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, Nov. 3, 2018 in Belgrade, Montana.Nicholas Kamm / AFP - Getty Images

President Donald Trump, campaigning for Republican candidates in Montana on Saturday, bashed incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester as someone who "will listen to whatever Cryin' Chuck tells him to do."

Using his pejorative nickname for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Trump added, "We can't have someone who will vote lockstep with Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters and Cryin' Chuck."

Republican state Auditor Matt Rosendale is battling Tester in a race that marks a crucial battleground for control of the Senate this year. The Cook Political Report has rated the race as a toss up.

The president also hit Tester for his involvement in thwarting the nomination of his choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, White House physician Ronny Jackson, likening the situation to the sexual misconduct allegations against now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump painted both Kavanaugh, who faced an accusation of sexual assault and other allegations of sexual misconduct, and Jackson, who withdrew his nomination amid a flurry of professional misconduct allegations that included improperly doling out drugs and being drunk on the job, as targets of Democrats and false accusations. And, Trump said, it could happen again if Democrats regain power in Congress.

Trump claimed that Tester "tried to ruin" Jackson, and also noted the senator's "no" vote against Kavanaugh. Tester, the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, publicly raised concerns after he uncovered allegations that Jackson created a difficult work environment at the White House, abused alcohol and was lax in providing prescription pain medication. Trump previously said Tester should resign.

"Ronny didn’t even really want to do it in retrospect," Trump said Saturday of his failed nominee. "I feel guilty because I’m the one who said you should do it.”

Trump has been barnstorming the country in the final days of the midterm campaign, plugging a doom-and-gloom scenario should Democrats regain control of Congress and positioning the election as a referendum on his presidency.

In brief remarks, Rosendale echoed Trump's message to vote to protect his progress as president.

"He may not be on the ballot this year, but his policies are," Rosendale told the crowd.