Republican State Senator Jason Priest (Red Lodge) has been charged with felony assault on a minor, for throwing his four-year old daughter on February 1st. Priest, who ironically chairs the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee, was arrested on February 1st for assaulting his daughter, his estranged wife and her boyfriend. He also allegedly fought with the arresting officer.
Priest is a Tea Party style Republican who has often clashed with GOP moderates in the Republican State Senate. He is a proud member of the NRA and staunchly “Pro-life”. Yet, this “family values” Republican is now an accused felony domestic abuser, and his commitment to “protecting” the unborn is apparently not matched by an equal commitment to protect children who have been born.
In addition, given his propensity for violent rage, Priest raises questions about whether domestic abusers should have easy access to guns. A man who threw his daughter like a potato sack, tried to shove his wife down a flight of stairs, fractured her boyfriend’s ribs, and then fought the police officer when he arrived, is a man who would pose a clear and present danger to all around if he was armed. After he was arrested the judge ordered him to stay away from firearms and for good reason.
While the GOP’s war on women is usually meant as a metaphor, Jason Priest appears to be literally waging a physical war against his wife and his young daughter. While the Republican platform does not explicitly endorse domestic violence, the GOP has been indifferent to programs designed to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Misogynists like Jason Priest have reason to believe they are welcome in the Republican Party. If Montana Republicans truly care about family values they should demand Priest’s resignation. If for no other reason, because when Priest was asked by police about assaulting his wife, he replied by saying he “would f****** do it again”. Priest is a a danger to his family and a menace to others. He may soon be exiting the state Senate and entering the state penitentiary.