MISSOULA, Mont. — Some Montanans reported getting a text message from Sen. Steve Daines’ campaign Thursday that asked for money to help support President Donald Trump after days of delays in getting a final vote count in the presidential election.
The message said, “Dems are stealing the election. Trump needs our support. Give $5 & help us fight back now! -Steve Daines” The message included a link to a fundraising page with options to donate up to $5,600. At the bottom it reads, “Paid for by WinRed. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.”
NBC Montana reached out to the Daines camp, which confirmed early Friday the text message came from them and said, “Sen. Daines stands with President Trump as do Montanans.”
This all comes after Trump laid out several claims Thursday about ballot counting and that Democrats are trying to steal the election without any direct evidence.
Multiple GOP lawmakers spoke out against these claims, including Senators Mitt Romney and Pat Toomey.
“The president is within his rights to request recounts, to call for investigation of alleged voting irregularities where evidence exists and to exhaust legal remedies -- doing these things is consistent with our election process,” Romney posted on Twitter. “He is wrong to say that the election was rigged, corrupt and stolen -- doing so damages the cause of freedom here and around the world, weakens the institutions that lie at the foundation of the Republic and recklessly inflames destructive and dangerous passions.”
Republican Rep. Will Hurd of Texas said, “A sitting president undermining our political process and questioning the legality of the voices of countless Americans without evidence is not only dangerous and wrong, it undermines the very foundation this nation was built upon. Every American should have his or her vote counted.”
Montana’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester issued a statement that said, “The American people decide elections in this country, not politicians. The president has made it clear that he isn’t going to accept the results of this election unless they’re in his favor. This is both dangerous and undermines our democracy. I support the local elections officials -- both Democrats and Republicans -- who have been transparent in their tireless work to count millions of ballots across the country.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took a similar stance to the Daines text, backing up the president’s claims. Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham said he supports the president’s efforts to challenge ballot counts.
Others online, including outspoken Democratic activist Alyssa Milano wrote, “If the Democrats fixed the election why didn’t they win the Senate and keep the seats on the House that they lost?”
We asked for more clarification on the Daines text. A campaign spokesperson says money raised from it will go toward a recount to support Trump, although it was unclear as of Friday morning how much money has been raised in that effort. The spokesperson told us the Daines team sent a team to Arizona to help “ensure transparency in the election there with ballots being counted.”
We asked specifically if Daines believes Democrats are stealing the election as the text message indicates. We were told again that he stands by the president. They added Daines “believes this election should be held as fairly and transparently as possible.”
When asked if there is a question about the counting and transparency specifically in Arizona, the spokesperson said yes, among others.