I agree with Congressman Kevin Cramer’s guest post here on SAB regarding the protests shutting down GOP front runner Donald Trump’s rally in Chicago.
“Piling on the frontrunner is a rich political tradition, but to rationalize attempts to stifle free speech is not a Republican tradition and I suspect will serve to strengthen the standing of Donald Trump,” writes Cramer.
I agree. Trump is a buffoon and an embarrassment, but closing down his rallies with intimidation and obstruction is only going to make him look more sympathetic.
That said, Cramer needs to stop playing coy with his stance on Trump.
Last week the congressman touted an unofficial straw poll he ran through his re-election campaign which showed Trump as the most popular candidate among North Dakotans.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”I wouldn’t endorse him without him asking me,” Cramer said adding, again, that he will “support the Republican nominee.”[/mks_pullquote]
“It is clear to me the Trump candidacy is a movement, and I don’t share the panic of many in my party’s leadership,” Cramer said of the results. “Elections are about voters more than they are about political parties. It is time for Republican leaders to help Donald Trump be a successful candidate and then help him be a successful President.”
But he stopped short of outright endorsing Trump.
On Friday, while guest hosting for Jay Thomas on WDAY AM970, I interviewed Cramer (audio above) and asked him about Trump.
The normally plain spoken Cramer was evasive.
“I wouldn’t endorse him without him asking me,” Cramer said adding, again, that he will “support the Republican nominee.”
I asked Cramer what he would say if Trump did ask him to endorse. “I would want to reserve that first answer for him,” Cramer said.
It seems Cramer is trying to have it both ways. He’s supportive of Trump, but he’s not committing to an official endorsement.
Maybe that’s smart politics. Trump is such a polarizing bomb-thrower that associating oneself with him by way of endorsement is a risky maneuver. But a lot of Cramer’s appeal is built up in his rejection of that sort of calculated political political rhetoric.
It’s disappointing to see him dance around the issue of Trump, trying to ingratiate himself with Trump’s followers without actually sullying himself with an outright endorsement.
In any other election cycle a member of Congress playing coy about endorsing a presidential candidate would be no big deal. But Trump is no ordinary candidate.
For what it’s worth North Dakota’s other top elected Republican, Senator John Hoeven, has said that he isn’t endorsing anyone but will support the GOP’s nominee.