Protesters gather outside Capitol to confront no-show by Daines

Several hundred protesters gathered outside the Montana Capitol Tuesday in anticipation of the scheduled arrival of Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont. Daines later postponed his address until Wednesday. (Freddy Monares/UM Legislative News Service)

By UM Legislative News Service and Missoula Current

HELENA – Republican Sen. Steve Daines abruptly canceled his scheduled address to the Legislature Tuesday after protesters assembled outside the Capitol bearing Q-tips and signs accusing him of not listening to Montanans.

Daines’ office cited a “scheduling conflict” in a news release, and said the senator will now address lawmakers at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Capitol steps in anticipation of Daines’ originally scheduled appearance.

The senator has faced heavy criticism in recent days, after he told Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to take her seat during debate over the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

That protest has morphed into complaints that Daines is not listening to the citizens of Montana; thus, the Q-tips.

Tuesday’s protesters chanted, “You work for us,” and carried signs bearing Daines’ face with a “Where’s Waldo” hat perched atop his head. “Where’s Steve-O?” they wondered.

Others waved placards proclaiming that “Protest is Patriotic” and “Disgusted with Daines.”

Following the senator’s cancellation, the executive director of the Montana Democratic Party issued a terse statement.

“Senator Steve Daines’ failure to show up today and answer tough questions from his bosses – the people of Montana – was a cowardly move,” said Nancy Keenan. “Senator Daines should be ashamed of himself for once again failing to show up for Montanans.”

“Where’s Steve-O?” the protesters wondered after Sen. Steve Daines canceled a scheduled appearance at the Montana Capitol. (Freddy Monares/UM Legislative News Service)