A clip of likely Senate candidate Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., supporting DACA policies resurfaced over the weekend, garnering mixed reactions from Republicans on social media.
Montana’s Republican Senate race is expected to heat up soon with Rosendale considering a primary run against former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, who is backed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), for the nomination. Amid talk of a likely competition between the two, Republican voters and individuals close to former President Donald Trump’s campaign appear to already be taking sides in the potential primary race.
During a 2018 Montana Senate debate, Rosendale was asked if the United States should deport all illegal immigrants in America.
“I don’t think it’s feasible to say we’re going to deport all of the illegal immigrants that are here,” Rosendale said, adding that he believes minors who were brought here without consent should be given “a path with which they can become citizens.”
GOP CANDIDATE COMPARED DEPORTING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TO NAZIS, ‘NOT OPPOSED’ TO FAST-TRACKING DACA CITIZENSHIP
Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an immigration policy that allows migrants who were brought into the U.S. as minors to be given a pathway to citizenship, has been controversial among the GOP base. Trump tried to terminate the program during his presidency, but the Supreme Court ruled that his decision violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).
AMNESTY REMAINS PRIORITY FOR BIDEN ADMIN, DEMOCRATS EVEN AMID RECORD BORDER NUMBERS
As several million illegal migrants have crossed the southern border during the Biden administration, the issue of immigration is likely to play a pivotal role in nationwide elections.
Kaelan Dorr, who served in the Trump administration, posted the initial flashback clip and bashed Rosendale for the “bombshell” comment. Dorr wrote that Rosendale “opposed deporting illegals,” after the GOP lawmaker stated that he supported a pathway to citizenship for specifically migrant minors.
Montana Republican Congressman Matt Rosendale is considering a run for Senate in 2024. (William Campbell/Getty Images)
The clip of the comment, posted on X, revealed the divide between the GOP in a potential Montana Senate primary race.
“If you’re a ‘Republican’ who advocates for amnesty you are most definitely not a MAGA-Republican,” Alex Bruesewitz, a political consultant and close ally of former President Trump, said in a repost of the clip. “I’m glad the posers are all being exposed this year.”
“#Nobodycares Shanghai Sheehy is still a warmongerer & a RINO,” Caroline Wren, a political operative with ties to Trump world, responded to the video, blasting Sheehy.
Ryan Girdusky, the founder of the 1776 Project PAC, posted on social media that Dorr’s characterization of Rosendale is “literally horse—-” and said Rosendale made the comments after “Trump endorsed the DACA Amnesty… following the lead of the man that Kaelan would never criticize.”
“This is a gross smear by cowards and liars,” Girdusky added.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who endorsed Trump for the presidency, campaigned with Rosendale over the weekend in Montana.
Montana Senate candidate Tim Sheehy served in Iraq, Afghanistan, South America and the Pacific region, receiving the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. (Tim Sheehy for Senate)
“I’m going to campaign for Matt Rosendale because he’s exactly the shock to the system the Senate needs. Also, I hear Montana is lovely in January,” Gaetz told Fox News Digital of the events.
Rosendale has confirmed he is considering a run for the Montana Senate and has already held several campaign events, but has not yet made any official announcements.
Earlier this month,Rosendale introduced a broad immigration package that includes measures to “shut down the border” and reverse key Biden-era policies that Republicans blame for the historic crisis at the southern border.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The package introduces or reintroduces five bills that would limit entry into the U.S., restore Trump policies that Republicans have credited for slowing illegal immigration and limit the effects of immigration on the U.S.
“Biden is destroying our country with his open border policies,” Rosendale said in a statement. “My immigration bills will set the proper mechanisms in place to shut down the border, give DHS the tools to pursue criminals evading border checkpoints, encourage American companies to hire American employees, protect taxpayer dollars by only counting citizens in the census and require those waiting on an immigration hearing to wait in Mexico.”
Fox News Digital reached out to the Rosendale campaign for comment.
Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.