GOP Senator Kevin Cramer—Senate Impeachment Trials Should No Longer Be Automatic March 8, 2020
Some GOPer’s remain unhappy that the Senate even had to conduct a trial of Demagogue Donald after the House impeached him. Sure, everyone with functioning grey matter between their ears knew that Trump would be acquitted by his lockstep 53-member “Team Red” Senate majority which occurred on 2/05/2020 (Ghitis, cnn.com, 2/05/20). The only GOPer who voted to convict Trump on Article I, abuse of power was Mitt Romney (R-UT). On 3/02/2020, U.S. GOP Senator Kevin Cramer put his “final thoughts” on Trump’s impeachment trial into the congressional record. Cramer’s “thoughts” were “gems” (NOT). In a lengthy statement, Sen. Cramer first restated the usual GOP drivel about the House not proving its case against Donald. However, Cramer went further than conventional GOP “thinking.” He suggested a re-evaluation of current rules that require immediate Senate trials if the House votes for articles of impeachment, especially when they are, “entirely partisan.” Sen. Cramer further stated, “While I agree such an enormous responsibility should elicit our undivided attention, it seems illogical to automatically grant primacy to impeachment articles, especially those as flawed as the ones presented by the House Democrats.” Sen. Cramer added, “Impeachment articles brought by the House completely derail Senate legislative activity. We are unable to consider legislation, nominations, or conduct any floor activity (americanindependent.com, Israel, J., 3/02/20).”
Cramer compared impeachment trials to Supreme Court confirmations. He argued such a change would be “no different from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to block Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.” Cramer declared, “The Senate was well within its right to decide the timing and consideration, or lack thereof, of this constitutional obligation to consider judicial nominations, and the same should be true of impeachment trials (americanindependent.com, 3/02/20, Israel, J.).” Wow! Impeachment, Sen. Cramer is the most drastic remedy against a sitting federal officer, especially a president. It is not like any judicial nomination or other appointment the Senate has before it for consideration. Sen. Cramer is no impartial observer. He voted to acquit Trump on both impeachment counts, after repeatedly voting against allowing fact witnesses to testify during Trump’s impeachment trial (americanindependent. Com, 3/02/20). Of course, if one follows Cramer’s absurd reasoning that impeachment trials should be held up or never put before the Senate if the House’s articles of impeachment were “entirely partisan,” Democrat Bill Clinton should never have been tried over the Lewinsky affair in the Senate after the GOP-run House rammed through its super-partisan impeachment articles. And, anyway, what big legislation was being held up in the Senate by Trump’s impeachment trial? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was and is presently sitting on hundreds of House-passed bills and has no intention of considering them. Who is Sen. Cramer?
First-term Republican U.S. Senator Kevin John Cramer (59) is currently North Dakota’s junior senator. Rolette, ND native Cramer was raised in Kindred, ND, southwest of Fargo. While in high school, he worked for the same electric co-operative as his father. He received his 1983 Bachelor’s Degree from MN’s Lutheran-affiliated Concordia College where he was a pre-seminary student majoring in social work. In 2003, he received a Master’s in management from Bismarck, ND’s University of Mary (Cohen & Cook 2020 Political Almanac, kevincramer.org/meetkevin, 7/23/12). Cramer was inspired to get politically involved by Ronald Reagan, whom he described as a “joyful conservative.” Cramer became a campaign aide to then GOP U.S. Senator Mark Andrews in his unsuccessful 1986 re-election bid. Cramer went on to work for the ND GOP where he rose to executive director and at 30 became the youngest-ever state party chairman. He was courted by national GOP bigwigs (Cohen & Cook 2020 Almanac).
After serving as state tourism director, Cramer unsuccessfully ran against the state’s sole Congressman, a Democrat, in 1996. After that loss, Cramer became ND’s economic development director. He ran against the same incumbent House Democrat in 1998, and, lost again. In 2010, Cramer tried running again for Congress by attacking Obamacare and attending many ND anti-government Tea Party rallies (bulletin.aarp.org, 1/04/2017, kevincramer.org, 10/29/10 ). The ND GOP party convention nominated another GOPer who won that congressional seat. From 2003-2012, Cramer served on ND’s public service commission that deal with energy matters. He worked for a foundation offering faith-based training for students at the University of Mary. When the incumbent GOP Congressman, made an unsuccessful run for the Senate in 2012, Cramer ran for a fourth time for ND’s sole congressional seat. He handily won the GOP primary. In the general election, Cramer ran as a strong social and economic free market conservative. He called his public service an “extension of my service to Christ.” In heavily-GOP trending ND, Cramer clobbered his Democratic opponent by 13 points. He coasted to re-election in 2014 and 2016 with margins of 17 and 45 points respectively (ND at-large 2014 & 2016 congressional results). In the House, Cramer pushed for more oil and gas drilling and wanted completion of the Dakota Access pipeline. Cramer was one of a handful of early Trump endorsers in the House. After the 2016 election, Cramer stated, “I can’t wait for the adults to be in charge on Jan. 20 (Cohen & Cook 2020 Almanac, washingtonpost.com, DeBonis, 5/11/16).” Cramer wrote a paper for Trump on energy policy in which he voiced skepticism about climate change. He also met with Trump to discuss becoming his Sec. of Energy, but did not get that post (Cohen & Cook 2020).
Cramer, who as ND’s Congressman-at-Large represented the whole state, was well positioned to run against Democratic first-termer Heidi Heitkamp. Heitkamp, in “dripping Red” ND that Trump carried in a 63%-27% win, faced an uphill battle against any GOP challenger. Cramer was the front-runner among her possible rivals. When Cramer decided to run for the Senate, Trump appeared for him at three rallies. By mid-Sept. 2018, Cramer had a double-digit lead against Heitkamp. Heitkamp, even though she had voted to confirm Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, courageously voted against Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh had been accused of attempted sexual assault and Heitkamp felt his nomination was “tearing our country apart.” Her vote against Kavanaugh was, IMHO, the final blow against her. Cramer defeated Heitkamp by an 11-point margin (Cohen & Cook 2020).
Cramer has voted a hard-right line in both the House and Senate. Since Trump took office, Cramer has voted with Demagogue Donald 96.8% of the time, including 90.9% of the time while in the Senate (projectsfivethirtyeight.com). Cramer opposes abortion and is a big critic of Planned Parenthood. Cramer, from the get-go, has been known for his provocative and reckless comments. In 2013, Cramer condemned the Supreme Ct’s pro-choice Roe v. Wade decision and tied it to an “uptake in mass shootings and a decline in religious values.” Cramer stated he was “sure people would attack me for my abortion views.” He added that U.S. Society has “normalized perversion and perverted God’s natural law (Cohen & Cook 2020, Terkel, huffingtonpost.com, 5/16/13, cosmopolitan.com, Burton, washingtonpost.com, AP, 5/21/13).” When then House Minority Leader, now Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and a number of female Democratic congresswomen wore white to protest Trump’s 2017 first joint address to Congress, Cramer called that action a “syndrome and a disease by women that was weird (politico.com, 3/2017).” In 2013, Cramer attracted controversy when he cited a biblical quotation several times in support of GOP efforts to cut $40 billion over 10 years from the Food Stamp Program (Bobic, talkingpointsmemo.com, 9/20/13). He is against protecting preexisting conditions and expanding Medicaid (hpr1.com, “High Plains Reader,” Fargo ND). Cramer opposes same sex-marriage and condemned its legalization by the Supreme Court (cramer.house.gov, press release, 6/26/15). In 2018, Cramer called both Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegation against Clarence Thomas and Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegation against Brett Kavanaugh “absurd (washingtonpost.com/powerpost).”
In 7/2019, Cramer stated he favored lawsuits seeking to overturn Obamacare (politico/2ln1poV, Burgess, 7/14/19). In 2019, Sen. Cramer held up confirmation of a White House budget official in order to get the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release sensitive documents about border wall construction. Sen. Cramer also pushed the Army Corps of Engineers to use a ND firm run by his 2018 campaign donor, Tommy Fisher. In 12/2019, Fisher Industries and the Fisher Sand and Gravel subsidiary were awarded the $400 million contract (independent.co.uk/news/world, Duncan, 12/03/19). Sen. Cramer even defended Trump’s initial decision to host the G7 conference at the Trump National in Doral Miami, a resort Donald owns. Cramer called Trump’s choice “bold and transparent.” Other GOPers voiced strong opposition to Trump using his resort and Donald abandoned the idea (Yahoo News, AP, Miller & Colvin, 10/19/19). We should, therefore, not at all be surprised that provocative super-Trump loyalist Sen. Cramer would try to weaken the impeachment process even after Donald was acquitted.
In “Blood-Red” ND, Sen. Cramer can keep getting re-elected as long as he wants. However, Sen. Cramer’s views and actions will become less relevant if on 11/03/2020 Democrats retake the Senate majority. Democrats need to flip 3 Senate seats “Blue” if they win the White House, 4 seats if they don’t. With a high Democratic voter turnout, such a result is doable.