Hoeven Backs Trump, Though They Don’t Agree on Everything

North Dakota’s Republican senator said Wednesday that he is maintaining his support of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Sen. John Hoeven, following a roundtable with Dickinson business and city leaders, lived up to his promise to support his party’s presidential nominee despite being relatively quiet about Trump’s candidacy.

“I support Trump as our nominee for the party,” Hoeven said. “I don’t agree with everything he says, but I agree that he would be better for our state and our country than Secretary Clinton, who would continue the kind of big regulation, big government, big tax approach the current administration has.”

Hoeven has long been an opponent of the Obama administration’s regulatory policies and said he believes a Hillary Clinton presidency would mean more of the same.

Nonetheless, Hoeven has been tight-lipped about Trump since the New York businessman accepted the Republican nomination for president and was the state’s highest-ranking GOP official who didn’t attend Trump’s speech at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference last May in Bismarck.

Hoeven, who is seeking re-election in November, also responded to criticisms by his opponent, current state Rep. Eliot Glassheim. On Tuesday, the Grand Forks Democrat called for Hoeven to withdraw his support of Trump following what he called the presidential candidate’s “demeaning insults” about Kazir Khan, a Muslim-American father of a fallen soldier.

Glassheim said Hoeven should condemn Trump’s statements.

“What’s more, Sen. Hoeven should explain to North Dakotans precisely why he continues to support Donald Trump while refusing to condemn, distance himself from, or even comment on, Trump’s outrageous behavior,” Glassheim stated in a release. “If Sen. Hoeven cannot honestly offer such an explanation to voters, he should have the courage to withdraw his support for Trump’s candidacy for president.”

Hoeven said he’s more focused on his own re-election campaign and issues pertaining to North Dakotans than the presidential election.

“I tell the people what I’m about, what I believe in, what I believe can help our state — a positive vision for the future of North Dakota, the vision of our country — and then it’s up to them,” Hoeven said. “It’s an honor to serve North Dakota, but people decide. That’s how I’ve always approached it. That’s how I’m approaching it now and as long as I’m in office, that’s how I will approach it. That’s what’s important.”

Hoeven did, however, say that “everyone should support Gold Star families,” the designation for families who have lost a member during military service in wartime.

The senator added that while he knows Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson well and considers him a friend, he won’t be backing his campaign.

Johnson was born in Hoeven’s hometown of Minot, and served as New Mexico’s governor at the same time as Hoeven was governor of North Dakota.

“He’s an interesting guy, a good guy,” Hoeven said. “I agree with him on some things but obviously not others. We’re good friends and it’s always interesting to see what he’s going to offer.”

Watch: Trump answer our questions

Forum News Service reporter Amy Dalrymple, who is a lot smaller than me, were front-row at the Donald Trump press conference Thursday. In a room full of national and state media, Amy kept getting overlooked by Trump. So, she showed me the question she wanted to ask and, moments later, the Republican presidential candidate pointed to me and I asked what the federal government’s role should be in the oil industry.

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Toward the end of the press conference, I had the chance to ask him what North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer’s role would be in a Trump administration, as Cramer has been eyed as something of an energy advisor by Trump. While Trump didn’t answer that question, it created an interesting moment where Trump brought Cramer to the podium to speak in front of the national media.


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This is everything we compiled from Trump’s visit to North Dakota, including the protests outside.

Holtz motivates energy conference in leadup to Trump

BISMARCK — Lou Holtz joked Thursday that the last time he was in North Dakota, oil was $100 a barrel and he wasn’t homeless.

The former college football coach and ESPN commentator, who lost a Florida home in a fire last summer, encouraged energy industry leaders and workers to take the recent oil downturn in stride during a speech preceding Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s appearance at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference.

“Quitting is a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” he said. “Until you fly on solar energy, oil is going to continue to be very, very important.”

Holtz, a former board member for Watford City-based Nuverra Environmental Solutions, only lightly touched on energy in his speech and went through standard motivational material that has made him a sought-after speaker nationwide.

Holtz peppered multiple jokes throughout his 40-minute speech. His few moments speaking about oil were tied into his motivational theme, and for a moment, Holtz even got political.

“We all have injustices done,” he said. “It would bother the daylights out of me in this oil business, where our government subsidizes all kinds of fancy things and puts all kinds of restrictions on me. But you can’t be bitter about it.”

Continue reading “Holtz motivates energy conference in leadup to Trump”

If you want Trump to win, I can’t help you

Here’s some thoughts I had after watching the Republican presidential candidate debates on Thursday night:

— Jeb Bush is in the race because someone told him to be, though he looks like he’d rather be home watching TV.

— Rand Paul isn’t much of a hugger.

— Marco Rubio could likely be our first Latino president — just maybe not in 2016.

— There are 17 so-called Republicans who want to be president. Seventeen!!! It’s crazy. More than half of them should go home now because they can’t win, a couple of the underdogs should get more attention because they deserve it and there may actually be a president in the bunch. (Maybe.) That said …

— That potential president sure as heck isn’t Donald Trump — and the people who think otherwise are part of the problem we have with choosing leaders in this country.

Continue reading “If you want Trump to win, I can’t help you”

A presidential race without any winners

Like me, you’re probably getting sick of hearing about a presidential election still 17 months away.

Maybe that’s because, so far, the options have been pretty bad. None of the candidates throwing their hat in the ring are in any way captivating or world-changing, and no one has put forward a true vision for our country’s future.

Longtime readers know I’ve never been Obama’s biggest fan. But I’ll always acknowledge his ability to be presidential when he absolutely needs to be, and I respect how he stands up for his ideals and vision — whether or not I agree with him.

Not one candidate — Republican or Democrat — has displayed a truly presidential quality the American people want and need as we gear up for what’s sure to be the most talked-about election in history. Some look good on paper, others on TV. A few speak really well and know how to fi re up their base.

But are any of them actually presidential material?

Continue reading “A presidential race without any winners”