The latest restaurant caught in the culinary crosshairs of the country’s hyperpartisan moment is the Midtown Tavern in Bozeman, Mont. It’s where Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, formerly of Fox News, were scheduled to appear next week for a rally with Matt Rosendale, the state’s Republican auditor, who is competing for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Jon Tester.
But when the candidate’s team announced the planned appearance on Tuesday, the bar and grill’s manager backpedaled.
But the manager did not attribute the cancellation to the Trump factor. “We just try to stay politically neutral,” the manager told the paper. “We’re a restaurant.” He said he had been unaware of the booking, which was the result of a misunderstanding. The Midtown Tavern “does not intend to take political sides,” he told radio station KMMS.
“We’re excited to welcome Trump Jr. and Kimberly back to Montana,” Rosendale said in the initial statement. “This race is a top priority for the Trump administration and it’s an honor to have them join us on the campaign trail. President Trump is now counting on all of us to win this race so we can help him advance his agenda.”
Shane Scanlon, a Rosendale spokesman, told the Chronicle that more than 200 people had reserved tickets for the event and that the campaign needed another venue that could accommodate “the unprecedented demand.”
The event has been relocated to the Gallatin County Fairgrounds, according to KMMS radio.
A recent CBS poll gave Tester a two-point lead in the race. At the center of Rosendale’s campaign is his support for Trump, who carried the state by 20 points in 2016. The president has already made several trips to Montana to boost the Republican candidate.
The president’s son has stirred controversy on multiple fronts in recent days. On Sunday, he tweeted a photo of Anderson Cooper standing in waist-deep water during a hurricane, suggesting incorrectly that the CNN anchor was falsifying the danger of the storm. Cooper spent the first 10 minutes of his show Monday night rebutting Trump’s claims.
The same day, Trump Jr. posted an image to his Instagram account depicting a juvenile love letter as a way of belittling the accusation of sexual assault leveled by Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. Flake, a frequent critic of the president, decried the post as “sickening.”
It won’t be Trump Jr.’s first time in Bozeman. He visited the Rocky Mountains city last year to stump for Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte, who famously body-slammed a reporter during his campaign in the U.S. House special election.