File photo of Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte on Feb. 10, 2021 (left) A house sits in Rock Creek after floodwaters washed away a road and a bridge in Red Lodge, Montana, June 15, 2022.Photo: Thom Bridge / Independent Record – David Goldman (AP)
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, a man best known nationally for once body-slamming a reporter, has been missing for the past few days as the state experiences devastating and historic flooding. The governor’s office refuses to say where Gianforte currently is, only stating that he left the country sometime last week, according to the Montana Free Press.
The mysterious disappearance of Gianforte, described as a “personal trip,” according to the Montana Free Press, couldn’t have come at a worse time. Montana has been struggling with horrific flooding that has hit homes, washed out at least six bridges, and caused damage to the 308 and 212 highways. In fact, the floods are so bad Yellowstone National Park has been closed for the first time since the wildfires of 1988—Just as the summer tourism season was really kicking off.
Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras, who’s apparently the Acting Governor of Montana right now, signed a disaster declaration on Tuesday, which should free up money for assistance. Federal disaster relief experts have also mobilized to the region, with FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell landing in Helena on Wednesday night, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
Criswell is scheduled to hold a press conference today at 2:30 pm local time with Lt. Gov. Juras in Red Lodge, a town that’s seen some of the worst flooding. Damage to infrastructure in Montana currently stands at an estimated $ 29 million, according to the Chronicle, with a formal request sent to President Biden along with six federal agencies for relief money: the EPA, the Dept. of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, the US Geological Survey, HHS, and the Dept. of Transportation.
When will Gianforte finally get back to Montana? Nobody knows but Gianforte, it seems. But he’s tweeting from wherever on the globe he happens to be right now. And the replies to the governor’s tweets are about what you’d expect for a man who’s vanished under weird circumstances.
“We are closely monitoring the flooding in the Flathead and Miles City and working with local authorities,” Gianforte tweeted on Wednesday night.
“Who is we ??? And where in hell are you? ” one person tweeted, in a typical response.
Others speculated that perhaps Gianforte is in Cancun, a reference to the time Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas fled to Mexico for a vacation while people in his state were freezing to death during an energy crisis. Some people even made photoshops joking about the similarities.
But at least the people of Texas knew Old Teddy Cruz was heading on vacation and where he was going. The people of Montana still have no idea where their AWOL governor has been, let alone when he’ll return.
Click through for more photos of the devastation in Montana and at Yellowstone National Park. The images are heartbreaking and they’ll make you even more mad that an elected official who’s tasked with taking care of his state is missing while the people of Montana suffer.