Cramer Struggles to Clarify Comments

The attempted cleanup from last week’s tactless comments delivered by Kevin Cramer is struggling to achieve its goal. He has tried, unsuccessfully, to clarify what he meant when he diminished Dr. Ford’s accusation of Judge Kavanaugh as “absurd” on KNOX in Grand Forks. Instead, Cramer has deflected blame, accused media of mischaracterizing his words, and continued to downplay the seriousness of the alleged act. There has been no apology. Perhaps he is struggling to clarify his comments because he may have meant what he said in the first place.

Kevin Cramer provided the latest example of why some women don’t report sexual assault. His comments display the climate waiting for someone who comes forward in clear view.  The atmosphere that if a woman is assaulted they won’t be believed. That instant doubt appears to become more prevalent when politics and positions of power become involved.

Rather than apologizing for his lack of empathy for the alleged victim and others like her, Cramer has more than doubled down. Instead, he blamed others for diminishing the seriousness of the allegations. Given the chance to say he perhaps misspoke and acknowledge – at the very least- that he could see how his word choice created an uproar, he blamed media for using his exact words directly in spoken form.

Where Cramer is right it is that we don’t know all the facts. Not yet. However, he doesn’t demand that we get the facts before taking action on the nomination. He is still pushing for the Senate to vote this week. When pushed by Chris Berg from KVLY on this point, Cramer appeared to waffle. It seems rather simple, if you want the facts, slow down and get them. Investigate. The facts could clear Kavanaugh’s name and confirm Cramer’s presumed outcome.

Though Cramer’s latest remarks are the most jaw-dropping, they aren’t out of character. In 2013, he made headlines for his comments at the Spirit Lake Reservation regarding the recently reauthorized Violence Against Women Act. Last year, he said “there is a disease associated” with women members of Congress wearing white suites. Months later, he called a female TV talk show host a “snob.”  This pattern demonstrates why he is struggling to clarify his comments because he may have meant what he said in the first place.

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