June 28 (UPI) — President Donald Trump made a trip to North Dakota late Wednesday in an effort to sway the state’s congressional makeup, two-thirds of which is up for grabs in November.
Trump traveled to Fargo to campaign for Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, who’s vacating his House seat to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in the Senate — one of many races that could shift Congress’ majority in this fall’s midterm elections.
In his speech, Trump took aim at Heitkamp — plus House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and California Rep. Maxine Waters, who have all been sharply critical of the president’s administration.
“We need Kevin Cramer to replace liberal Democrat Heidi Headlamp in the Senate. When Heidi ran for office she promised to be independent vote for people of North Dakota, instead she went to Washington and immediately joined Chuck, you know who Chuck is, and Nancy, and now they have a new leader,” Trump said.
Heitkamp has occupied the seat since 2013.
North Dakota is not typically a popular stop for presidents, as it has just two Senate representatives and one in the House — for a total of three electoral votes. The state has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and has not elected a Democratic governor since 1985.
Beating Heitkamp, though, may be difficult for Cramer. No Republican has been elected to her seat since 1958. The last Democrat to hold Cramer’s House seat was Earl Pomeroy in 2011.
Just hours after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, Trump stressed the importance of electing more Republicans, saying Democratic lawmakers want judges “who will rewrite the Constitution any way they want to do it. Take away your Second Amendment, erase borders, throw open jailhouse doors, destroy freedoms.”
Trump praised Kennedy and said he will look for a replacement with intellect.
“I’m very honored that he chose to [retire] during my term in office, because he felt confident in me to make the right choice and carry on his great legacy,” Trump said of Kennedy, a somewhat moderate conservative who often cast deciding votes on the high court bench.
Trump also said he hopes Pelosi and Waters continue down their current political path.
“Please, please, please don’t remove Nancy Pelosi,” Trump said, “And please keep Maxine Waters on the air as your face and your mouthpiece for the Democratic Party.”
On immigration, the president said Immigration and Customs Enforcement is “being liberated” under his watch, and admonished “radical” activists who released identities and addresses of some of ICE agents.
The president also took aim at the NFL, crediting himself for a decline in viewers to the game, saying he is “more exciting” and “a hell of a lot more dangerous.”
To fill Cramer’s House seat, Republican Kelly Armstrong will face Democrat Mac Schneider in November.