Tester gives first TV interview since Trump spat

Posted at 9:50 PM, May 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 15:06:54-04

BIG SANDY – Senator Jon Tester is back on his Big Sandy farm, while the Veterans Administration is still without a permanent secretary.

In an exclusive television interview, MTN spoke with the Senator Thursday about the unexpected national headlines he has recently made.

The ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee is about a week removed from shining a spotlight on allegations questioning the qualifications of Dr. Ronny Jackson, the president’s choice for VA Secretary., and drawing the ire of the commander in chief.

“I know things about Tester that I could say, too,” President Trump told supporters at a Michigan rally recently. “And if I said them, he’d never be elected again.”

“The bottom line is the President is going to do what the President does I’m going to continue to do what I do,” said Tester. “And when it comes to working for veterans, I won’t take a back seat to anybody.”

Allegations regarding Jackson include reports of him dispensing prescription drugs on cross country flights and creating a toxic work environment.

Tester says he has no regrets about bringing the allegations to light on national television and he knows the dust is far from settled on the issue.

“Some people will say ‘Are you concerned about the election?” said Tester. “We knew it was going to be a tough election and this is always going to happen, regardless.”

Jackson ultimately withdrew his nomination and Tester took the President’s social media criticism in stride, including damaging information the President claims to have on the Senator.

“I got no secrets, truthfully,” said Tester. “I think just moving forward what can tend to happen is you take your eye off what needs to be done and what really needs to be done is we need to get a secretary for the V.A.”

MTN asked the White House whether President Trump has plans to come to Montana, to campaign against Tester, but got no response.

When MTN asked about the President’s comment that he “knows things about Tester” that are damaging, we also got no response.

Reporting by Tim McGonigal for MTN News