Port: North Dakota Republicans in wait-and-see mode on Trump running in 2024
"I don't know yet," Sen. Kevin Cramer said when asked whether Donald Trump should run for the White House again. "It's three years away. We have this midterm election that's part of the formula, of course. I can't imagine why he'd make a decision before the midterms."
MINOT, N.D. — "Senate Republicans, with a few exceptions, are hoping that former President Trump does not announce his intention to run again for president," The Hill newspaper reports .
That's a big statement, if true, though the frustrating part of the piece is that it quoted not a single anti-Trump senator by name.
I asked North Dakota's senators about The Hill's assertion of majority opposition to another national Donald Trump campaign.
"Sen. Hoeven was not asked for comment and did not talk to the reporter," Sen. John Hoeven's spokesman told me. They didn't offer a reply to my question about whether Trump should run again.
Sen. Kevin Cramer also said he wasn't contacted for the story.
Does he think Trump should run again?
"I don't know yet," Cramer said. "It's three years away. We have this midterm election that's part of the formula, of course. I can't imagine why he'd make a decision before the midterms."
I pressed him, asking if he felt it would be helpful to GOP candidates in congressional races around the country if Trump ran again. "A lot of Republicans are afraid of him. They're afraid of his wrath," Cramer noted, an assertion backed up by the lack of named quotes in The Hill article. "He's got a significant following that's both large and deep. It's a faction of the primary you'd be hard-pressed to win without."
The impression Cramer left me with is that he wants to see what the midterm elections portend for the Trump movement before he takes a firm position on 2024.
That is telling for one of Trump's earliest and staunchest allies during his successful 2016 campaign.
Cramer even tossed out some names as alternatives to Trump. "I happen to think Mike Pompeo would be a really good candidate. He probably represents the Trump movement as well as anybody," he said, referring to the former congressman and CIA director who served as secretary of state during the Trump administration. "[Florida Gov.] Ron DeSantis is similar to Donald Trump, but doesn't have the international experience that's really wanting right now."
"I'm kind of a let-her-fly political strategist. I think that's why we have primaries and we have elections," Cramer told me by way of explaining his overall philosophy for the 2024 season . "Whoever wants to run gets to. Donald Trump is no exception to that, but he's certainly an exception to the norm. When I think about Donald Trump's strategy and whether or not he wants to be president again, I think he wants to be president again. But I also think he's way too strategic and savvy to announce anything soon. He already has all the attention of being a presidential candidate without being a presidential candidate."
Whether Trump runs or not, "He'll have a lot to say about who our nominee is," Cramer added.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at email@example.com .