Port: Stop trying to appease the Trumpkins

Every time an elected official such as Sen. John Hoeven does what the Trump movement wants him to do, they move the goal posts again.

Members of the so-called "Freedom Convoy" of protesters against COVID-19 policies visit with Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
Contributed / Sen. John Hoeven's office
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MINOT, N.D. — Earlier this month I wrote that Sen. John Hoeven is learning, this election cycle, that loyalty to the Trump movement gets you nothing .

Here's another anecdote to show how right I am about that.

This week members of the so-called "freedom convoy" from North Dakota visited some of our state's federal delegation in Washington, D.C.

The convoy has been a flop, with breakdowns, disorganization, and a seeming lack of numbers thwarting their efforts to be disruptive and garner headlines.

That these dopes are screaming about the supposed tyranny of putting on a mask, or taking medicine, while the world watches actual tyranny play out in Ukraine, is more wind in the face of their movement.


What a spoiled, pampered people we are.

The North Dakota convoy apparently consisted of just a handful of people by the time it reached Washington.

Before we get into their interactions with our two U.S. senators, let's review what those elected officials — Sen. John Hoeven, specifically, for reasons that will be clear in a moment — have been doing to address the issues this convoy is organized around.

Hoeven voted to end the COVID-19 national emergency declaration.

He voted to repeal the vaccine mandates on private employers and health care workers.

I'm just not seeing a constituency of North Dakota voters that Mund could appeal to that's large enough to lead her to victory. But, again, that's assuming that she's running to win, and not as a way to keep her celebrity alive post-Miss America.

He voted to defund the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate initiatives.

He has co-sponsored legislation aimed at repealing the vaccine and mask mandates for the federal Head Start program.

He has co-sponsored legislation to end the mask mandate for public transportation (plains, trains, and buses).


He co-sponsored the COVID-19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act, which is now law prohibiting the Defense Department from giving vaccine deniers a dishonorable discharge.

Given this track record of legislative work, much of which was in the works before this "freedom convoy" stuff became a thing, you'd think North Dakota's convoy members would be happy with the senators.

Not so.

Derek DePauw, a trucker from Bottineau and an organizer of the North Dakota convoy, absolutely ripped Hoeven in an interview with the Minot Daily News .

“Any changes that I had proposed to him, the only thing he could really say is, ‘well, in order to make that happen, we have to win in November. We have to win in November,'” Depauw said. “I’m not going to sit in D.C. ’til November, so do something now."

"I am very, very disappointed in who we have representing North Dakota," he added.

Republicans do not control the Senate. They don't control the House or the presidency.

Hoeven is right. Republicans have to win in the midterms in order to more effectively advance the policies DePauw wants.


“[Hoeven] said they need to kind of watch how they address things and so forth, so the Democrats don’t get upset about it. I immediately jumped on that. We don’t send people to D.C. to play along to get along,” Depauw told the Minot Daily .

If elected leaders like Hoeven listened to that advice, nothing would ever get done at all.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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