Senator Heidi Heitkamp Should Be the One Apologizing for Her “Trust the Russians” Stance on Syria


The Senate Leadership Fund, a political action committee tied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, put out an ad recently critical of Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s stance on Syria.

It leads with a 2013 interview Heitkamp did with left wing cable network MSNBC in which she said we should “trust the Russians” to convince Syria to rid itself of chemical weapons. Flash forward five years, and find that the Assad regime in Syria has not only retained their chemical weapons but just this last weekend used them against Syrian citizens.

The ad juxtaposes Heitkamp’s comments with imagery of Syrian victims of that chemical attack. Here’s the video:

Provocative stuff, to be sure, and now Heitkamp’s campaign – through spokeswoman Julia Krieger, a former employee of the far-left, Soros-backed activism enterprise Media Matters – is demanding that Cramer apologize for the ad:

“Kevin Cramer and Mitch McConnell have stooped to a new, shameful low – using dying Syrian children as pawns in a political attack ad. This is disgusting and not how we do things in North Dakota,” said Julia Krieger, Ms. Heitkamp’s communications director.

Cramer’s campaign isn’t responding to the demand yet – I should note here that it’s actually illegal for campaigns to coordinate with these PAC’s, although there are workarounds as the Heitkamp campaign knows, so I’m not sure what Cramer is supposed to say about an ad he had nothing to do with – but the folks at the Senate Leadership Fund are firing back:

But a spokesman for the super PAC allied with Mr. McConnell ignored Ms. Heitkamp’s call to take down the ad.

“What is disgusting is that Heidi Heitkamp is suddenly trying to run away from her record of ‘trusting the Russians to come to the table’ to stop the Syrians from using chemical weapons,” said Chris Pack, a spokesman for the Senate Leadership Fund.

“She said it. Russians failed. There was another attack. Children died. It is horrible. And that is something Senator Heitkamp has to live with,” Mr. Pack added.

I tend to agree with Mr. Pack.

While the ad is certainly provocative, and we can debate about how direct a line we can draw between Heitkamp’s “trust the Russians” stance and these chemical attacks, an awful thing happened in Syria. Real people were hurt. Heitkamp’s position on this issue is a part of that equation.

Instead of Heitkamp deploying the left wing political professionals she’s staffed her campaign with to throw bombs and muddy the waters, I’d rather hear the Senator herself explain why she said “trust the Russians” back in 2013 and what bearing she thinks that had on the recent attack.

UPDATE: This, now, from the Cramer campaign:

“While we find the ad’s approach inappropriate, distasteful and not how we would choose to campaign, the point the ad makes is valid. From supporting Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama for president to her decisions on Syria, Iran and illegal immigration, Sen. Heitkamp has consistently shown poor judgment in matters of international and national importance. And unlike Sen. Heitkamp and friends, the Cramer for Senate campaign has and will continue to focus on issues that matter. Contrast the importance of the Syrian issue to the recent focus of Sen. Heitkamp’s allies, which sent out a press release yesterday condemning Rep. Cramer for changing his Facebook profile, and you will clearly see who is focused on issues of consequence.” – Tim Rasmussen, Campaign Communications Director