In a new ad, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) touted a record of someone who is a China hawk and has pushed back against the communist government’s influence in America, but his past statements tell a different story.
“China is the greatest threat facing our nation,” Tester says in the ad. “They’ve been undercutting American jobs for generations. They’re fentanyl is wreaking havoc on Montana’s communities. They’ve even flown spy balloons across our state.”
Despite his hard-line stance against China now, Tester has in the past echoed the opposite sentiment about the country and its tactics on American soil.
“Politicians like Jon Tester talk tough on China. I’ve actually done something about the threats we face,” Republican Tim Sheehy, who is challenging Tester, said in his own ad. “As a Navy SEAL, I led covert operations around the world to defend our American values. Then I built a Montana manufacturing business with zero supply chain dependence on China. Now I’m working to strengthen Montana beef production and stop the Chinese from undercutting our ranchers.”
In an interview with CNN in February, Tester claimed that a Chinese spy balloon that floated over the continental United States “doesn’t put our national security at risk.” Then, in April, during an interview with a local Montana station, he said that while the “balloon invaded our airspace, and it’s something we should never accept … we’re being watched all the time with satellites.”
Tester has also flipped his stance on TikTok, the Chinese-based social media company with a bi-partisan push to ban the app from America. In late March, Tester told the Washington Post he would support an outright TikTok ban, and on May 18, he told the Harve Daily News that TikTok deserved consequences and the CEO should be investigated for its potential “treasonous” actions.
But, on May 22, just days later, Tester told the local news outlet that he is opposed to such a ban on TikTok.
“So, I’m not really big on banning anything. Quite honestly, ban it from government phones. I’ve got no problem with that,” Tester said. “But as far as banning it from the general public, I’ve got some issues with that.”
After he changed his stance, Tester received $5,250 in donationsfrom lobbyistsfor TikTok after only receiving $500 up until that point, according to a review of Federal Election Commission records.
When reached for comment, Tester’s team sent a list of his past criticisms of China, including how he introduced and passed a resolution condemning the spy balloon, introduced legislation to prevent China from purchasing American farmland, and that he believes TikTok should be banned from all government devices.
Read more from the original publication HERE.