A group of Montana clergy have sent a letter to media outlets characterizing as uncompassionate a new television ad by Republican Greg Gianforte criticizing Gov. Steve Bullock for his support of the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Montana.  He told members of the editorial board of the Missoulian on Thursday that he believes Montanans safety is at risk, engaging in a heated exchange with reporters over his isolationist position, pounding the table after persistent questioning about the details of his position.

Starting Monday, television stations across the state began airing an advertisement paid for by Gianforte’s campaign that shows Bullock’s face, images of fleeing refugees, street violence and then the arrival of the Islamic State.  Some letter writers, including Democrats and faith leaders, have criticized Gianforte’s stance as a departure from American humanitarian aid, particularly after mailers critical of refugee resettlement arrived in Missoula the same week as African refugees.