My anger was the only thing topping my astonishment when I saw The Forum article saying we "local taxpayers" paid $104,528.22 for Kevin Cramer's purely political campaign rally with President Trump in Fargo.
The article quoted Mayor Mahoney as citing "general safety, national exposure and the goodwill of the sitting president" as reasons for Fargo picking up the tab.
General safety? Safety for the president is the responsibility of the Secret Service, this event was not to benefit the state of North Dakota but to promote a political agenda, and as such should be paid for by either the Trump campaign or the Cramer campaign, certainly not by the citizens of Fargo. As far as the attendees' safety, that is the responsibility of those who invited them to the rally and not the public at large.
Perhaps it would have been appropriate to charge the people who attended the rally, if in fact neither the Trump or Cramer campaign's have funds to support such an event.
National exposure? A political rally for a partisan party is "national exposure "that is "good" for North Dakota? How so? How did those who do not support Cramer's candidacy benefit?
Finally, "goodwill of a sitting president?" Isn't the president of the United States always suppose to show "goodwill" in supporting any project that benefits any group of citizens? Subsidizing a purely political rally is choosing sides and that is not an appropriate use of public monies.
Trump coming to North Dakota in an official capacity would be one thing. But using our tax money to promote a specific political candidate is a misuse of funds, and frankly, an outrage.
I also question the integrity of the Cramer campaign. The Cramer campaign invited Trump and ought to insist on paying the expenses that came with his visit. (When was the last time any of us invited guests to dinner but expected our neighbors to pay for the food?)
Now I read Vice President Pence is coming to Grand Forks in a few weeks for another rally supporting Cramer's candidacy. Will Grand Forks taxpayers get stuck with Cramer's campaign expenses the same way Fargo did?
If Trump or Mike Pence wish to come here in an official capacity - welcome. If they are invited for purely political partisan politics - it is on their "dime" not ours.
King Gray is a lawyer and professor living in Fargo.