That Rep. Kevin Cramer is a fanboy of Donald Trump comes as no surprise, since an unrequited love for the president has been Cramer's only discernible strategy to defeating U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in November. Given North Dakota's political tilt, it just might work.
But something Cramer said the other day to a friendly Bismarck radio host should be seen as alarmingly odd, if not downright disturbing, even for somebody who worships at Trump's altar as much as Cramer does.
In a discussion about Trump's trade war with China, opposed by Heitkamp because she believes (along with many others in both political parties) it will damage North Dakota soybean farmers by taking away their largest overseas market, Cramer inferred the senator is "an enemy of our own country" because she took a group of farmers and agriculture leaders to meet with Mexico's ambassador to the United States.
After saying tariffs would not be his chosen weapon against the U.S. trade imbalance with China, Cramer said: "But this is the approach the president chose and as long as that's the strategy of our country, I think we should do the best to be supportive of it. Not undermine it and not become an enemy of our own country, for crying out loud, by running to the Mexican Embassy or talking to your favorite European politician or member of Parliament about how we can undo the president's strategy, but rather supporting it or showing a unified front, which gives him the strength he needs to get the best deal he can possibly get."
It's not clear what Cramer was talking about in the reference to Europe or Parliament, but Heitkamp took a group North Dakota ag representatives to the Mexican embassy in Washington, D.C., in June to discuss trade and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Mexico is one of North Dakota's largest foreign markets for exports like corn, beef, pork and poultry.
So facilitating a meeting to keep trade active with a hugely important partner makes her an "enemy of our own country?"
Cramer's attempts at embracing Trump while telling farmers he's looking out for their best interests have been tortured, at best. He just can't bring himself to make a full break, which leaves Cramer tied like a pretzel when trying to explain himself. The radio interview is the perfect example. He claims to dislike tariffs, but then espouses embracing Trump's tariffs because that's "the approach the president chose."
Cramer's stance is obvious: He's loyal to Trump above North Dakota.
Cramer knows all about opposing presidents. He did it for four years when Barack Obama was in the White House. No Democrats accused him of being an enemy of the United States.
With Trump, it's a different story. Cramer doesn't see his job as looking out for North Dakotans, but rather standing with the president 100 percent of the time. And if you dare question Trump, you're "an enemy of our own country."
That's startling hyperbole, even for an unapologetic Trump fanboy.