McFeely: History won't forget Trump enablers in ND or elsewhere

The president's political supporters are not going to be able to wash away the stink as easily as they hope. History won't forget.

U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., speaks at a rally in support of President Donald Trump in Bismarck on Saturday, Nov. 7. Kyle Martin / Forum News Service

FARGO — Like arsonists who poured gasoline on a dilapidated building and dropped a match, Republicans watched the result of their incendiary work Wednesday. The difference was, Republicans pretended to be shocked by what happened.

They also, despite reeking of fuel and smoke, tried to deny any role in the inferno.

By tweet or by statement on Wednesday afternoon, GOP politicians who for years shrugged at Donald Trump, giggled about Donald Trump, smirked about Donald Trump, winked about Donald Trump and most important cheered on Donald Trump were suddenly very concerned that Trump-loving thugs had stormed the U.S. Capitol and were staging an insurrection to stop the free and fair election of Democrat Joe Biden.

On the darkest day for American democracy since 1861, Republicans figured it was time to find some religion.

U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, one of the seditious president's top cheerleaders and enablers for five years, says he "gasped" when he heard some of Trump's comments that incited the insurrection in Washington, D.C.


Cramer spent part of Wednesday trying to act shocked at what Trump and his supporters wrought. It was only a couple of days ago when Cramer scolded media for criticizing Trump's resistance to accepting the results of the election. He went so far as to ask one outlet why they expected Trump to say and do normal things when the president hasn't ever done so.

Now Cramer pretends he doesn't know how it got to this point.

Too late. What had been sown was reaped and, egged on by a traitorous president who gives not a whit about the United States or the citizens who inhabit her, terrorists occupied one of the sacred buildings of our 244-year-old democratic experiment and mocked our Constitution and our ideals.

Even here in North Dakota there are accomplices. Cramer. Sen. John Hoeven. Rep. Kelly Armstrong. Gov. Doug Burgum. Attorney general Wayne Stenehjem. Radio talk-show hosts like Scott Hennen and Jay Thomas. TV hosts like Chris Berg. All thought Trump was a hoot up until the moment there was an insurrection at the Capitol. Some are still chuckling, some in media are still spreading lies and conspiracy theories.

Given the brainpower of local right-wing media, you'd expect nothing less from them. But the people in positions of power, most of whom should know better and know exactly the game they are playing? They are not going to be able to wash away the stink of Trump as easily as they hope. History won't forget.

Cramer, Hoeven and Armstrong all participated in a post-election day rally for Trump in Bismarck. The main gist was that election was stolen from Trump and those who voted for him should continue to fight and never give up. What happened Wednesday, on a much larger scale, was the logical conclusion to that type of rhetoric.

What if instead they'd said, "It looks like our guy lost. We need to move forward and try to win the next election." Might that have reduced the fever by a few degrees?

Cramer in September told a TV crew in Washington that the idea Trump wouldn't accept a peaceful transition of power was an imaginary creation of the Democrats and the media.


"There will be a peaceful transition of power whenever it is time for one. I know it, and they know it," Cramer said, sometimes suggesting there would instead be "a continuation of power" as his way of winking and nodding that perhaps Trump would find a way to keep the White House.

Recently, when asked about Trump's phone calls to Georgia pressuring its secretary of state to overturn election results in his favor, Cramer said he had no problem with it.

Cramer was meeting with Trump supporters outside the Capitol on Tuesday, encouraging and taking photos with them.

Every step Cramer and his fellow Republicans took for the last four years, particularly the last few months, led to this point. They cannot shirk that responsibility, nor can they shift it entirely to Trump. They cannot, at the last possible moment and after the fact, say they are appalled at what happened.

When an arsonist sprays gasoline and lights the match, they aren't allowed to be surprised at the result. Judges won't absolve them of guilt because they "gasped" when the accelerants exploded. In the case of Trump and his enablers, history will be the judge. It won't absolve and it won't forget.

Readers can reach Forum columnist Mike McFeely at or (701) 451-5655

Opinion by Mike McFeely
Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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