Trump Takes a Beating…in Montana

Photograph Source: Bureau of Land Management – CC BY 2.0

Montana’s Gov. Steve Bullock just chalked up another great win with a victory over Donald Trump’s corrupt puppet, Louis DeJoy, who heads the U.S. Postal Service and has crippled that agency with Draconian measures such as dismantling sorting machines, removing postal boxes and generally slowing down delivery of the mail. Thanks to Bullock’s legal initiative, DeJoy had to settle the lawsuit by agreeing to undo all the changes he instigated in this blatant attempt to suppress vote by mail to aid Trump’s re-election chances.

It’s worth noting that this is the second major, national-level lawsuit Governor Bullock has won against Trump’s corrupt appointees in the last three weeks. Prior to the latest victory, Bullock had won his suit against the illegitimate actions of William Perry Pendley as head of the Bureau of Land Management that oversees millions of acres of public lands. As Federal Judge Brian Morris wrote in his ruling, Pendley “served unlawfully as the Acting BLM Director for 424 days” and enjoined him from exercising the authority of the agency’s director.

While it’s nothing short of incredible that it took a Montana governor to fight and win these huge national issues, it’s worth remembering that it’s not just the lawsuits, but the effect of these victories, that deliver long-term and wide-reaching actions.

For rural Montanans, and indeed, all rural Americans, the Postal Service is a daily lifeline providing goods, medicines and vital communications. Despite the wonders of the internet, it’s often the Postal Service that makes “the last mile” deliveries to citizens nationwide — especially in the hinterlands.

Likewise, Pendley’s actions benefitted exactly one sector — the extractive industries — by turning over the nation’s incredible publicly owned natural resources to corporate profiteers. That’s no surprise to those who have followed Pendley’s career since he has long argued that the federal government should not own land — and has tried throughout his life to turn public lands and resources over to private interests.

In Montana, public lands are cherished by our citizens for many, many reasons, no matter their political affiliation. They are where we hunt, fish, hike, camp, recreate, and find solace from an increasingly hectic world. They are also the gatekeepers of our sources of clean water, the last bastions for an increasing number of endangered species, and the legacy we will pass on to future generations.

While it was a stunning accomplishment for Bullock to legally oust Pendley while he was pirating our nation’s resources, the ripples of that victory go out to many shores. Already efforts are underway to overturn every action he took while illegally holding his position and in this respect, Bullock’s win is the gift that keeps on giving.

It’s not tough to compare Bullock’s actions with those of Steve Daines, his challenger for Montana’s U.S. Senate seat. Daines has, throughout his tenure in the Senate, voted to uphold Trump’s corrupt presidency and his criminal coterie of appointees and special interests. Even now, in the depths of the pandemic, Trump is putting “politicals” in the highest offices of the Centers for Disease Control to provide a rosy narrative to off-set the 217,000 American lives lost to the president’s utter incompetence.

As a friend wrote upon reading of Bullock’s win on reversing DeJoy’s Postal Service changes: “Bullock’s ‘wins’ should be applauded because they are our ‘wins.’” Indeed, they truly are because they’re not for one political party or special interest, they’re in the public’s interest. That means when Montanans — and all Americans — cast their ballots, thanks to Steve Bullock, they’re likely to be delivered on time and be counted in this crucial election.


George Ochenski is a columnist for the Daily Montanan, where this essay originally appeared.