Politics

Sen. Kevin Cramer would

America might be ready for a “fresh start” with an alternative to President Donald Trump in 2024, says North Dakota GOP Sen. Kevin Cramer, and if that’s the case, although he supported Trump in 2020, he thinks there might be another, better option.

“I would love to have four more years with Donald Trump, quite honestly,” Cramer told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on “The Takeout” podcast. “I’m pretty close to him. I would love to have him start knowing what he knows now, start taking down the bureaucracy on day one rather than sort of trusting it. But at the same time, I think America, you know, would like a fresh start and maybe a Mike Pompeo. He’s got the Trump doctrine down. He’s believable on it. He understands it. He supports it himself.”

Cramer understands there are several Republicans, including some of his fellow sitting senators, ready to vie for the presidential nomination if Trump sits out 2024. Pompeo is the only Republican Cramer mentioned as a viable alternative.

Garrett and Cramer also discussed “replacement theory” — a racist conspiracy that sees White Americans losing economic and political power unjustly to minority or immigrant populations. The alleged White shooter in a racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo a few days ago reportedly posted a white supremacist manifesto that espoused the theory before he carried out his attack.

Cramer said the racist massacre of those ten people and the wounding of three others in Buffalo was “an awful, evil tragedy.”

“I wept a little bit when I heard about it because the circumstances were just so awful,” Cramer said. “The shooter, his past comment, his white nationalism, racism…adds to the evil and just illustrates a deep, deep evil in this individual.”

Some Republicans in Congress have been accused of using language aligned with replacement theory, which Cramer acknowledged.

I believe that that is happening and I am against it,” Cramer said. “I’m sort of naturally against most conspiracy theories. I just I think in our hyper-media world…there’s just too much opportunity to elevate anger as opposed to de-escalate anger. And that’s really affected our ability to communicate and to dialogue. I’m against it and I grieve it. I think those of us that have a larger platform are obligated morally to de-escalate.”

But Cramer is likely to oppose recently passed House legislation to create high-level federal working groups to monitor and combat domestic terrorism.

“I worry a little bit about the term domestic terrorism,” Cramer said. “I mean, crime is crime. Violence is violence. It is illegal and should be illegal. If we need to crack down more on it, we ought to provide local communities with the resources and the training for their policing. We all know what domestic means, but what’s the difference if it’s a domestic terrorism issue or whether it’s a gang matter or whether it’s just violence breaking out? It empowers a bureaucracy more than a community.”

Cramer worries that a federal definition of domestic terrorism could lead to politicizing crime and law enforcement, adding he has some concerns about politicization of the Biden Justice Department. Asked if he thinks the Trump Justice Department was politicized, Cramer said. “I really don’t. I think when you look at (former Attorney General) Bill Barr and the way he carried it out, had he politicized it, Donald Trump would be more pleased with him.” Trump feuded with Barr after he lost the 2020 election and Barr said in an interview that federal investigators had found no evidence of election fraud on a scale that would have change the outcome.

Highlights from this week’s interview with Sen. Kevin Cramer:

  • Buffalo massacre: “It’s such an awful, evil tragedy in my mind. I mean, it’s such an awful, really evil act. And what makes it evil is, first of all, the taking of human life is in and of itself tragic and obviously violent and evil. The circumstances of this situation that the- the shooter, his past, his comments, his- his white nationalism, racism, obvious racist- adds to the evil and just it illustrates a deep, deep evil in this individual person… I feel like commenting much more, and I’m- don’t get me wrong, we will because I can’t resist, almost diminishes just how awful the act itself was…I wept a little bit when I heard about it because the circumstances were just so awful and prayed immediately, of course…  It’s a combination of things, because there are probably a lot of people that feel this way that don’t carry it out in violent ways.”
  • Domestic terrorism and policing: “I worry a little bit about the term domestic terrorism. I mean crime is crime. Violence is violence. It is illegal and should be illegal. If we need to crack down more on it, we ought to, we ought to provide local communities with the resources and the training for their policing. We have, as you know, a police shortage. And we have a policing challenge in this country that ranges from, you know, to too harsh policing to not enough… Terrorism means something domestic terrorism, I mean, we all know what domestic means, but what’s the difference if it’s a domestic terrorism issue or whether it’s a gang matter or whether it’s just violence breaking out?… It empowers a bureaucracy more than a community. Policing is a local issue, it’s a state issue.”
  • “Replacement theory”: “I believe that it is. I believe that that is happening and I am against it. I’m sort of naturally against most conspiracy theories, to be honest with you, Major. I just I think in our hyper-media, you know, world where everybody gets to choose the lane that they not only that they believe in, but then that they go to for all of their information. There’s just too much opportunity to elevate anger as opposed to de-escalate anger. And that’s really affected our ability to communicate and to- to dialogue. That said, you know, I’m against it and I grieve it. And I, I think this gets to my point of I think those of us that have a larger platform are obligated morally to de-escalate.”
  • Trump in 2024: “I would love to have four more years with Donald Trump, quite honestly. I’m pretty close to him. As you know, I was very active in his campaign. I supported him early in the house. And I would- I would love to have him start knowing what he knows now. Start taking down the- the bureaucracy on day one rather than sort of trusting it. But at the same time, I think America, you know, would like a fresh start and maybe a Mike Pompeo would- would be a- The reason I even mentioned Mike is because I think Mike Pompeo is the most he’s got the Trump doctrine down people. He’s believable on it. He understands it. He supports it himself. He’s very loyal to President Trump.
  • Trump Justice Department politicized? “I think when you look at Bill Barr and the way he carried it out, had he- had he politicized it, Donald Trump would be more pleased with him.”
  • Representing North Dakota: “I have the advantage of having fewer than 800,000 constituents, and I get to know them all pretty well. And so, you know, intimacy with the people I work for and with is a special thing that I don’t take lightly. But it does allow me to be transparent with them, even reckless at times. They forgive me and I and I love them. So but I just think as policymakers, the best thing we can do is allow the type of dialogue, not just you and me, but us, you know, colleagues, rather than having a shouting match about, you know, the Second Amendment “

Executive producer: Arden Farhi

Producers: Jamie Benson, Jacob Rosen, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson

CBSN Production: Eric Soussanin 
Show email: [email protected]
Twitter: @TakeoutPodcast
Instagram: @TakeoutPodcast
Facebook: Facebook.com/TakeoutPodcast


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