WASHINGTON — Republicans seeking to unseat Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) in one of this year’s most contentious Senate races are trying to tie his campaign to a Pearl Jam poster. It features an image President Trump’s dead body, and was used in the promotion of an Aug. 13 concert that helped raise money for Tester’s campaign.
“In the image, Tester flies gleefully overhead – smiling at Trump’s demise — aboard a green tractor as smoke billows from the White House spelling out the word, ‘vote,'” Calvin Moore, a spokesman for the National Republican Senate Committee, said in a post on the NRSC website. The committee featured several images of the poster, and Matt Rosendale, Tester’s Republican opponent, called the poster “disgusting and reprehensible.”
Pearl Jam tweeted out an image of the poster the day after the concert.
— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) August 14, 2018
Tester’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment from Variety, but a spokesman told The Washington Post that they did not have input on the poster’s design.
“We never saw the poster before the show, and we don’t like it,” spokesman Chris Meagher said. “And we don’t condone violence of any kind. Period.”
The concert, called Rock2Vote, was independent of the campaign, but Tester’s team purchased tickets and tied it to a separate event, a reception the night before with the senator and Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament, according to the Post. Ament and Bobby Brown designed the artwork, according to Pearl Jam.
Republicans have been trying to tie some of the controversial and outrageous comments celebrities have made about Trump to Democrats. The Republican National Committee this summer released a video, called “The Left in 2018: Unhinged,” featuring comments from Madonna and an image of Kathy Griffin holding a fake Trump severed head.
Tester’s race is among the Republican pickup targets this year, as he is one of 10 Democrats from states that Trump won in 2016. Trump has endorsed Rosendale, something that he has played up in campaign materials.