August 20, 2019 2020 Candidates

Jewish Insider: Interview with Montana Gov. Steve Bullock

2020 PROFILE — Steve Bullock: Trump’s foreign policy via tweet causes chaos — by JI’s Ben Jacobs: Steve Bullock may be the first Democratic presidential hopeful to willingly compare himself to Rick Santorum. It’s not that he shares the former Pennsylvania senator’s conservative views or penchant for sweater vests. It’s simply that he’s an underdog in his presidential bid who is convinced he can make it.

The two-term Montana governor spoke to Jewish Insider over pizza in Washington D.C. just after an interview on “Fox News Sunday” in which he compared putting Ken Cuccinelli in charge of immigration policy to “putting Putin in charge of election security.” The statement about the arch-conservative former Virginia attorney general made headlines, a rare feat for Bullock, who entered the 2020 presidential race in May and did not qualify for the first debate in June as a result.

Bullock, who touts that he is the only Democratic candidate to have won in a Republican state, has often expressed his frustration with the debate rules set by the DNC. “The rules were well-intentioned,” but have rewarded candidates like billionaire Tom Steyer, who spent $10 million to reach the 130,000 unique contributors needed to qualify for the third debate in September. “That’s not grassroots democracy and I don’t think it’s probably good for the campaigns and it’s not good for the voters.”

On foreign policy, Bullock expressed his disappointment that the Israeli government refused to let two members of Congress, Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), enter the country: “Any elected representative from Washington D.C. ought to be able to go to Israel.” He pointed a finger at President Donald Trump’s tweets forcing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hand in making the decision to ban the two congresswomen from Israel. Bullock also pointed to past statements by Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, that the two would be allowed to enter the country.

“That just shows you can’t have the chaos being caused by tweets and personal spite,” said the Montana Democrat. “There’s just no way to conduct foreign trade or foreign policy. And you know we’re still waiting two-and-a-half years in for this secret plan and how we’re going to have Middle East peace. We’ve been promised for two-and-a-half years. He’s made it actually a lot harder to get to a two-state solution.”

Bullock also condemned U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s decision to applaud the ban of Tlaib and Omar. When asked if it was appropriate, the Montana governor said “absolutely not, absolutely not.”

Bullock wouldn’t weigh in on whether Netanyahu was a racist, saying “it’s not up to me.” Instead, the governor said: “I don’t think that Netanyahu should be doing the president’s bidding. And I think this was more about the president’s bidding than it was about welcoming elected officials from our country who might have different views.” Click here to read the full feature: [JewishInsider]