Republican presidential candidate Doug Burgum speaks Oct. 19, 2023 at Jethro’s BBQ in Ames. (Photo by Jay Waagmeester for Iowa Capital Dispatch)
AMES — Republican presidential candidate Doug Burgum said Thursday he would consider sending troops to Israel in response to recent Hamas attacks on Israel.
President Joe Biden called for aid to Ukraine and Israel in an address from the Oval Office
In a campaign event in Ames Thursday evening, Burgum, the governor of North Dakota, blamed Biden administration for the invasion of Ukraine and the attacks on Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7.
“The first thing that we need to remember in the midst of all these calamitous conflicts that are occurring around the world is that all of these things were self inflicted by the policies of the Biden administration,” Burgum told reporters following an event that hosted about 80 attendees in a back room of Jethro’s BBQ restaurant.
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Burgum criticized the Biden administration for recent hostage deals with Iran. The U.S. allowed the transfer of $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets last month in exchange for the release of five prisoners from Iran.
“When you start paying for hostages, you’re gonna get more kidnapping,” Burgum said. “So again, all of the situations we find ourselves in is really a stain on Joe Biden that we should never, never forget that.”
Burgum called Iran a “parent company” of Hamas.
When asked if he would support sending American troops to Israel, Burgum said “everything’s got to be on the table.”
“Absolutely, you would have to consider [the use of the American military] because they’ve attacked Israel, they’ve attacked us and when people are killing Americans, they need to know that there’s gonna be consequences,” Burgum said.
Aid to Ukraine ‘one of the greatest bargains’
Burgum called U.S. miliary aid to Ukraine “one of the greatest bargains that Americans have ever received” because Ukrainians are willing to fight and “now have destroyed half of Russia’s military capability.”
He said the U.S. should make sure money sent to Ukraine is spent wisely. “… but if anybody just said we can use a fraction of our military expenditures, and take out half of Russians military capability right now, I mean, that’s that’s a dream come true for our military, particularly now, when we’re edging closer to World War III, and we’ve got, you know, conflicts brewing all over the world.
One attendee, J.P. Swanson, an Iowa State student, said one of his big voting issues right now is foreign aid. Swanson said he believes aid should be sent to Ukraine, but not to Israel.
Swanson said was attending to learn more about Burgum’s platform, but leans toward former New Jersey governor Chris Christie.
Debate polling requirement a ‘clubhouse rule’
Burgum said he has met three of the four criteria to qualify for the third Republican presidential debate, which will take place Nov. 8 in Miami.
The threshold Burgum has not achieved is the polling requirement, which Burgum called “a clubhouse rule made up by a couple people at the RNC and actually takes power away from the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.”
In addition to criticizing Republican National Committee’s qualifications for the debates, Burgum said the debates themselves “used to have some gravitas,” but now is more like reality TV.
“It’s not even political theater, it’s actually reality TV. They’re trying to create real time reality TV conflict, because that’s how they try to save their dying media models, but I’m not part of that,” Burgum said addressing a question asking him why he has not “aggressively attacked” the other candidates on the stage.
One attendee, Janelle Huffman from Ankeny, said she came to see the North Dakota governor because of his performance at the second and most recent debate.
“When he finally got some questions, I was really impressed with his answer … I really don’t know him and the name recognition isn’t there for me,” Huffman said, and also said she was impressed with Burgum and his wife, Kathryn.
Huffman said she is still looking for her first-choice candidate, but said she wants someone who can get elected, “I don’t know if his [Burgum’s] name recognition is enough.”
Huffman said she voted for Trump twice, but said “he has so much on his plate,” which she called bothersome.
Burgum speaks in favor of pipelines
Attendees also asked the native North Dakotan about carbon capture pipelines, a topic heavily discussed in both his home state and in Iowa.
Burgum, an advocate for pipelines, said he’s confused by the controversy over them because North Dakota has been moving fuel through pipelines safely for 23 years.
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“Liquid fuels, decarbonizing liquid fuels, that’s team USA. You want to be on team EV, that’s team China,” Burgum said.
“You can’t have an oil and gas industry in this country and move it all by truck on highways. You’ve got to have pipelines. It’s the safest, cheapest, smartest, easiest way to manage all of the flows of materials that come from that industry.”
However, he seemed to stop short of endorsing the use of eminent domain to force easements for pipelines on unwilling landowners.
Burgum said he believes the market will sort out the property disputes.
“Do what people in North Dakota do, if you don’t want to take a big check for an easement for a pipeline, then just say so and let your neighbor take the big check,” Burgum said.
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