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Port: An open letter to President Trump on his visit to North Dakota

columnist Rob Port

Dear President Trump, I want to welcome you to North Dakota. The best state in the union, from my perspective, but I may be a bit biased.

We like you here. You got nearly 63 percent of our statewide vote, and while your national ratings haven't been good, here in North Dakota 59 percent of us approve of the job you're doing according to a Gallup poll released earlier this year. That's the second highest level of approval in the nation according that poll.

I hope, while you visit our state, you might reflect on what it is about you North Dakotans like so much, and how you might turn that to your advantage to win over people in other states.

We are still very much connected to the basics of life here on the plains. We harvest crops. We raise livestock. We mine coal. We drill for oil and gas.

Most of us are employed, directly or indirectly, because of those pursuits.

Nor are they frivolous endeavors. We all have to eat. We all need the lights to come on when we flip that switch. These are necessities. Our state's chief industries don't have a lot of room for failure.

This reality has given North Dakotans a low tolerance for nonsense.

The people here just want to get things done.

I think that's what North Dakotans like about you, Mr. President. You're a get-it- done sort of guy, as you showed us when, just days after taking office, you took the regulatory pillow off the face of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It is now flowing oil and serving our state's oil industry well.

Those of us who live where the food comes from, who reside where the raw materials for our energy are dug out of the earth, we get you.

People elsewhere, not so much.

They see you as a bombastic, insulting speaker. A brash user of social media, prone to getting into feuds which are beneath the dignity of your office. Since these people are so far removed from the work that keeps this country running, they have a harder time seeing past the louder parts of your personality.

Maybe this is something you could work on. Maybe, while you're here in our great state, you could adopt a North Dakota attitude toward your job.

How about less invective? How about less tweeting?

What if you spoke more about what you were going to do to empower Americans to be prosperous? Here in North Dakota we see that in your already executed efforts to clear away regulatory bunkum that impeded our ability to farm and ranch and mine.

Maybe there's a version of that message you could take to other parts of the country to help convince them to like you as much as we do here.


In my last Sunday column I used the wrong first name when referring to Savanna Greywind, the Fargo woman who was the victim of a heinous crime. The error was mine, and I apologize for it.