Cramer Exhausted by Criticism of Trump’s Initial Response to Charlottesville

Two out of North Dakota’s three Congressional delegation members criticized President Trump’s initially “inadequate” response on Saturday to violence that broke out in Charlottesville. Republican Senator John Hoeven joined Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp in stating President Trump should have come out more forceful and clearly in his immediate response on white-supremacy activity. Congressman Kevin Cramer broke from the rest and defended Trump’s initial statement. A pattern of blind defense we’ve come accustomed to from the Congressman.

In an article published in Forum Communications papers on Tuesday, Cramer responded to bipartisan criticism of Trump’s handling of the situation with, “It exhausts me that people would sort of parse and dissect Donald Trump’s words and try to extrapolate his heart because he didn’t say the exact thing he wanted them to say.” That sentiment appears to be a reversal from when Cramer demanded more specifics from then President Barrack Obama.

I know this President is great at platitudes and he loves to give big speeches that use a lot of words but are short on detail. But tonight I’m hoping he will get a little more specific. – Congressman Kevin Cramer (January 12, 2016)

This statement came before Obama’s last State of the Union Address and was directed at defeating “radical Islamic terrorism.” Cramer wanted a specific plan – which I don’t fault him for wanting – but his strategically worded statement was part of something bigger. You will recall, there was a public push and criticism from individuals like candidate Donald Trump that President Obama needed to use that direct, specific, language when talking about a group conducting acts of terrorism. Cramer’s statement played into the larger narrative pushed by politicians and some media outlets at the time. Locally, the Editorial Board of the Grand Forks Herald wrote a column titled, “Obama’s word-play on terrorism inspires mistrust” published less than two months before Cramer’s statement.

The focus then was on the language of our President involving radical groups and acts of terrorism. The idea being, if you can call it what it is by name, you can better address it. This would lead to a specific plan of action. Why isn’t that standard being used in this moment by Cramer?

On Monday, President Trump finally said what needed to be said. Some pundits question his sincerity. But the specific language was used. Now people must demand a specific plan from our President to address it.

New year, new President, new standards, I guess.

Tyler Axness