Congressman Kevin Cramer was on the radio show today and, of course, we talked about the shooting of his colleague Rep. Steve Scalise.
Cramer said there was a lot of “very somber self reflection” on Capitol Hill today, though he added that he and his colleagues “are trying to go on with business too.”
He said he expects to see politicians lighten up on their messaging a bit. “I think you’re going to see a really concerted effort on the left and the right for a softening of the rhetoric,” he told me.
Cramer (unlike North Dakota Senators Heidi Heitkamp or John Hoeven) holds a lot of town halls in North Dakota at which there is usually little or no security. I’ve been to a few of them, and basically you just walk in and sit down. There may be a local law enforcement officer on hand, but that’s about it.
Some of these events have become contentious. A town hall in Fargo turned into a shouting match after it was targeted by the Fargo/Moorhead iteration of the national left wing group Indivisible. Just a few weeks ago at a Mandan event a former Democratic legislative candidate got so angry he put his hands on Cramer (he later apologized to the Congressman on my radio show).
I asked Cramer if, after the shooting, he’s re-thinking how he handles those events.
“The one thing I don’t want to do is lose the access,” he said, though he added “how do I better secure them?”
He also said he’s been thinking about what information he puts on his public calendar. He says as of now he publishes not just information about events open to the public but also information about closed door meetings. “I like people to know what I’m doing,” he said. “It’s a transparency thing.” But now he’s not sure if it’s good for people to always know where he’s at.
He’s concerned not just about his personal safety, and the safety of his family, but also that of people attending his events. “Everyone around you becomes a part of an incident if an incident occurs.”
Here’s the full audio: