Donald Trump endorsed Tim Sheehy Friday in the Republican primary to challenge Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), hours after Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) entered the race.
The endorsement is a significant blow to Rosendale’s nascent but long-expected candidacy and gives the National Republican Senatorial Committee-backed Sheehy a clear path to the nomination.
In an endorsement posted on Truth Social, Trump said that Sheehy “is strongly supported by our incredible Chairman of the NRSC, Steve Daines, and many other patriotic Senators and Republicans who have endorsed our Campaign to, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Trump appeared to push Rosendale towards getting out of the race, saying, “I also respect Matt Rosendale, and was very happy to Endorse him in the past – and will Endorse him again in the future should he decide to change course and run for his Congressional Seat. But in this instance, Tim is the candidate who is currently best-positioned to DEFEAT Lazy Jon Tester, and Regain the Republican Majority in the United States Senate.
Rosendale responded on X, saying “I love President Trump. But he needs actual fighters in the U.S. Senate to enact his Agenda 47 – and that’s me and not Mitch McConnell’s hand pick, Tim Sheehy. I’m going to win this primary, defeat Jon Tester in November and together we will Make America Great Again!”
Trump and Rosendale’s relationship has not been warm. In January 2023, captured in a photo that became emblematic of the chaos of the Speaker election, Rosendale famously refused to accept the phone from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) with Trump on the line.
Rep.-elect Matt Rosendale (R-MT) (L) refuses to talk with former President Donald Trump on a phone being offered by Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) during the last moments of a contentious debate on the fourth day of voting for a new Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 7, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)
Trump supported Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’s bid for the gavel, and Rosendale continued to vote against him through numerous rounds.
Trump’s allies also accuse Rosendale of dragging his feet in endorsing the former president’s reelection bid, a spat that has led to additional drama between Rosendale and Trump surrogates.
Rosendale entered the race at the end of a week in which Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) appeared to walk back plans to endorse Rosendale, later clarifying he would make a donation to his campaign but would not officially endorse anyone.
Trump offered a glowing review of Sheehy, calling him “a Political Outsider, Strong on the Border, the Military/Vets, and our constantly under siege Second Amendment. He will stand tall in the fight against the Radical Left Democrats, who are Destroying our Country. Also, he is far more likely to Defeat Lazy Jon.
“America First Patriot Tim Sheehy has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
The primary is June 4.
Bradley Jaye is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for Breitbart News. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.