A restaurant in Bozeman, Montana is taking heat from conservatives on social media for canceling an campaign event headlined by Donald Trump Jr. The president’s son and his girlfriend, former Fox News talking head Kimberly Guilfoyle, were scheduled to take part in a rally stumping for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Rosedale on Tuesday, September 25.
The event was announced in a release on Tuesday morning, but campaign organizers were forced to scramble to find a new location after restaurant manager Jeff Wilcox at Midtown Tavern canceled their reservation. Wilcox reached out to several media outlets following the campaign’s announcement to set the record straight, stating that he was unaware that the event had been booked at Midtown Tavern until after the press release was sent out. “We definitely don’t want to take political sides. That’s never our intention,” Wilcox tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. “That’s just not who we are. We just try to stay politically neutral,” he says. “We’re a restaurant.”
Midtown Tavern’s stance is relatively benign compared to other restaurants that around the country that have expressly chosen to eject representatives from the Trump administration. It’s perhaps more an act aimed at self preservation for the restaurant management rather than a true statement against Republicans. Restaurants and bars, have notably come under fire this election season for allowing controversial political candidates to host events on their premises.
Still, Midtown Tavern’s self-proclaimed “neutral” politics have inspired many critics as well as a few admirers in online reviews. “Too political for my taste!” one Facebook reviewer writes. “Stop being a Democratic Shill,” another commenter posts. The restaurant’s Yelp page offers a similar mix of positive and negative reviews published in the hours since the event’s canceled booking. “If I could rate this establishment with 6 stars I would,” Greg B. of Bozeman writes. “Great food Greats drinks Don Jrs. not welcome. What more could you ask for?”
The Trump administration has thrown its support behind the Rosedale campaign, which is challenging two-term incumbent Democratic Senator Jon Tester; Donald Trump, himself, as well as Vice President Mike Pence have made trips to the region to support the Republican candidate. The Rosedale campaign says more than 200 people had RSVP’d to the event and it’s now looking for a new location.