MISSOULA, Mont. — Senator Jon Tester sat down for a question and answer session with the Montana Broadcaster’s Association Sunday.
The hosts planned the event as a debate between Tester and Matt Rosendale but Rosendale backed out because he said he had Father’s Day plans and he challenged Tester to five other debates.
The Montana Broadcaster’s Association turned Sunday’s event into a Q&A session with Tester as a result. Topics covered included the Affordable Care Act, rural suicide rates and border security.
Immigration is at the top of national news today after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero-tolerance policy" and more children are expected to be separated from their parents as a result.
NBC Montana asked Senator Tester what his plan of action is for the migrant families at the US border.
“First of all, I think border security is really important so we need to get our borders secure and deterrents can be effective. This deterrent is not something we should be doing and what we can do about it is encourage ICE and customs border protection to be able to send support so we can put pressure on the attorney general,” said Tester.
To the question of sanctuary cities – the senator said he’s opposed to them but many of the bills that would ban sanctuary cities cut funding for law enforcement and he thinks that’s a mistake.
The session also covered the topic of gun rights. Tester said the second amendment is very important to him but school shootings should not be tolerated.
“I'm going to tell you what I think can be done is -- and it's not going to stop it -- but it's going to help and that is background checks. I do not think that people who are criminals, terrorists or court adjudicated mentally ill -- I believe they forfeited their second amendment rights,” said Tester. He also said straw purchasers would also be illegal and would be held to the same sort of punishment as the person who committed the crime.
One attendee at the event asked if the senator thought President Trump would complete his term in office. To that, Tester said absolutely. He admitted some of the president’s tweets drive him crazy but said those are not impeachable offenses and that he didn’t think anything, so far, has shown any of the president’s actions to be impeachable offenses.
Tester said he saw Rosendale just two days ago. He said he shook his hand and wished him good luck.