Tim Sheehy, who is running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, made a Gallatin Valley appearance on the campaign trail during a town hall with U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke on Thursday.
The town hall was held at the Gallatin Gateway Community Center and hosted by the America First Policy Institute, a think tank founded by former Trump administration officials. About 70 people attended, and broke out into applause several times.
Sheehy, Zinke, and former acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker and former acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf discussed fentanyl, the “weaponization” of the federal government and border control before taking questions.
Sheehy, who is the CEO of Bridger Aerospace, announced his bid for Senate in late June.
Sheehy earned applause from the room while talking about what he called the intentional “indoctrination of our youth by Chinese Communist ideologies.”
“The way we fix it is returning the education of our children — returning faith and families to the classroom,” Sheehy said.
Wolf also asked Sheehy and Zinke about border issues, including whether the U.S. military should take action against cartels.
“This administration can’t even stop a balloon,” Zinke said, referencing the spy balloon that floated over the country earlier this year.
Sheehy said the current administration is not taking aggressive enough measures at the border.
“We refuse to address the crisis that’s right in front of us,” Sheehy said. “Walls work, people with guns work, airplanes with cameras work. Those things can slow down crossing at the border.”
In response to that answer, Wolf said he should just give Sheehy the microphone and let him keep talking.
The panelists also talked about the structure of the federal government. Zinke compared going to the nation’s capital to being “dropped in behind enemy lines because everyone is in the opposite party.”
Zinke and Sheehy said more federal agencies should be located outside of the nation’s capital.
“For me getting the power out of D.C. is one of the ways,” Zinke said. “Moving the Bureau of Land Management, moving the U.S. Geological Survey, moving those decisions that primarily affect the West, let’s move them out of D.C. and put them where at least they can pick up a phone call and we can talk to them.”
The speakers also talked about trust in government, including with the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
Sheehy said he sees a lack of accountability in the federal government leading to the ability “to weaponize that structure to do whatever it wants.”
Whitaker, who was acting attorney general during the Trump administration, also criticized the recent indictment against former President Donald Trump in which he is accused of a conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstructing the election certification, calling it “desperate.”
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