Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s (D-ND) brother did not apologize in a blog post on Friday for suggesting that President Donald Trump will help potential victims of Hurricane Florence because “they’re white,” and instead, proceeded to explain why he believes the president is a “racist.”
Sen. Heitkamp’s brother, Joel Heitkamp, is a local North Dakota radio host and the North Dakota senator is a frequent guest on her brother’s radio show.
Joel Heitkamp tweeted on Wednesday that those who could be affected by incoming storms do not have to worry about Hurricane Florence because Trump will come to their aid because “they’re white,” implying that the president did not aid victims in Puerto Rico because of their Hispanic heritage.
— Joel Heitkamp (@JoelKFGO) September 12, 2018
Contrary to Joel’s tweet, the areas that Hurricane Florence will hit feature significant black and Hispanic populations.
Joel Heitkamp – and by extension Sen. Heitkamp – received significant backlash from the controversial tweet.
On Friday, Joel Heitkamp explained the thought process behind his inflammatory tweet, in which he did not apologize for the tweet, and proceeded to explain how the president of the United States is a “racist.”
A lot of you were upset with me about my tweet from earlier this week. I took the time to respond.https://t.co/CgYeVoW975
— Joel Heitkamp (@JoelKFGO) September 14, 2018
Joel Heitkamp said that many people were upset with him, although, “they were, for the most part, huge Trump supporters,” implying that many non-Trump supporters would not find his statement offensive.
Joel Heitkamp said that his tweet was to point out the alleged disparity between the preparation that went into Hurricane Maria, which devasted Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Florence.
“Despite what many of the President’s supporters accept as true, I still believe he is a racist,” Sen. Heitkamp’s brother said.
Joel Heitkamp then cited many instances which he claimed proved President Donald Trump’s alleged racist beliefs:
- Trump’s claim in 2015 that some illegal aliens coming from Mexico are criminals and rapists.
- Trump’s campaign call and subsequent executive order establishing a “Muslim ban,” or a temporary ban on travel from seven countries from the Middle East and Africa.
- President Trump contesting a study that suggested that 3,000 people died from Hurricane Maria in Peurto Rico.
The controversy over Joel Heitkamp’s tweet arose amidst a Fox News poll released this week that revealed Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Heitkamp’s Republican challenger, leads by four points over the North Dakota Democrat.
President Trump won North Dakota during the 2016 presidential election by a staggering 36 points, and 54 percent of North Dakotans approve of his job performance.
The North Dakota radio host said that his tweet made national news because he is the brother to Sen. Heitkamp.
Joel Heitkamp then suggested that despite his belief that Donald Trump is a “racist,” Sen. Heitkamp “works very well” with the president.