On Monday, the state party informed Alex Bruesewitz, a Rosendale critic with close ties to Donald Trump Jr., that he would no longer be invited to deliver a keynote address at its winter kickoff.
The decision, first reported by the Washington Examiner, followed intense blowback from state allies of Rosendale, who complained the invitation would break the party’s pledge of neutrality in the Montana U.S. Senate race.
Bruesewitz has signaled his support for businessman and former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, who could face a primary challenge from Rosendale in the coming weeks.
The invitation prompted a wave of emails, text messages, and phone calls from Rosendale allies, according to one source familiar with the matter, and members of the party executive board were also “not thrilled.”
But the decision to bow to that pressure has set off an even louder, and more public, response from Trump allies accusing the Montana GOP of slighting the former president himself.
“It’s really disappointing to see some Republicans in Montana engage in leftwing cancel culture. It’s even more disappointing that they would target one of my father’s strongest and most loyal supporters,” Trump Jr. posted on X on Wednesday.
The controversy goes deeper than upset over a Trump ally being snubbed. Conservatives in Donald Trump’s orbit have grown increasingly hostile toward Rosendale since the speaker’s race last year, during which he declined to take the former president’s phone call on the House floor.
His October endorsement of Trump, perceived as late support for his 2024 run, fractured the relationship further.
Rosendale has denied lobbying against Bruesewitz’s speech. “I’ll be honest with you. I don’t even know who this guy Alan is,” he told the Washington Examiner on Monday. “I’ve had my hands full with productive work.”
But Trump allies place blame directly at Rosendale’s feet.
“Shame on Matt Rosendale for getting @alexbruesewitz canceled,” posted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who endorsed Sheehy last week.
Trump allies from Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) to Kimberly Guilfoyle have called on the Montana GOP to reverse course following its decision. Meanwhile, Bruesewitz told a local radio station that he harbors no “ill will” toward the state party following the dust-up.
The blowback, however, spells trouble for Rosendale specifically. Sheehy has the support of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and even the Club for Growth, a one-time ally of Rosendale.
The episode suggests Rosendale can also expect resistance from Trumpworld, and perhaps the former president, should he mount a Senate run.
Rosendale would not be entirely without allies. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) are in his corner, as are members of the state Freedom Caucus.
But he would lack critical financial backing in what promises to be a contentious Senate primary.
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