Governor Doug Burgum On Democrats Buying Votes And The War On U.S. Energy

"These economic policies of Joe Biden are what's destabilizing the world. That's why we need President Trump back in the White House."
WILDWOOD, NEW JERSEY - MAY 11: North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum speaks during a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate former U.S. President Donald Trump in Wildwood Beach on May 11, 2024 in Wildwood, New Jersey. The former President and presumptive Republican nominee held a campaign rally as his hush money trial takes a weekend break. Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney, is expected to be called to testify on Monday when the trial resumes. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The following is an edited transcript of a recent interview between Daily Wire’s Brent Scher and North Dakota governor Doug Burgum. They discuss Governor Burgum’s recent visit to Mar-a-Lago, the Biden administration’s war on the U.S. energy industry, and his claim that president Biden is using his administration to buy votes.

Brent Scher: We’re here with North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. Governor, thanks so much for being with us.

Governor Burgum: Thanks for having me.

Brent: You’ve been all over the airwaves making the case against Joe Biden. You recently said Biden is using his administration to buy votes. There’s been a lot of pushback in mainstream media about whether there’s actually any evidence for this. Can you lay out the case for what you mean here?

Governor Burgum: Well, first of all, this goes back. It’s not just about forgiving student loans for a demographic that traditionally has been in their camp. Any governor will tell you when there was distribution of COVID funds under President Trump, it was generally distributed on a per capita basis. It was based on the idea that, hey, if we’ve got this pandemic, it’s affecting everybody equally. When the Biden administration came in and one of the first big blocks of capital went out, they said, well, we’re going to go into the places that got hit the hardest. So we’re going to distribute it to the people who have the highest unemployment and give them more. So, New York got more money than Florida and lots of small blue states got a lot more money than North and South Dakota because we were open and we had low unemployment and other places that had high unemployment, because they had more restrictive policies, got more capital. So, it was apparent right from the beginning that they were going to try to drive dollars back into places that helped elect Joe Biden because the highest unemployment was in blue metros, who also had the most restrictive rules during COVID.

And then along comes higher education loan forgiveness, picking up where Obama left off. We’re looking at a total now, all in, of over $1.6 trillion of student loan debt in this country. Well, it’s not student debt per se. It’s a pass-through grant that goes to a student, they turn around and write a tuition check to a university. So it’s been a form of providing subsidies to the universities, which we know typically vote 95% blue. This was a way to drive dollars, ideologically, towards that end, even when some of those students may not have been well served by college. And then what do we end up with? A pile of student debt. We end up with people who can’t pay the debt back because they didn’t get an ROI in their education. We’re short of people in every trade group in this country. Some of these same people that had student debt could have no debt and be making a hundred grand a year — electrician or a plumber or any kind of advanced construction role — they could be making that kind of money without any involvement from the federal government. So, states ended up pouring more money into higher education but not solving a workforce issue. Student loan forgiveness is so unfair, it cuts at the core of America. And then again, like Obama, and now Biden, they keep trying to do it. They make big announcements about it during election years. And when Biden was campaigning recently in North Carolina, he’s not talking about the border, he’s not talking about inflation, he’s not talking about campus riots, and he’s not talking about the wars — he’s talking about getting $3 billion of federal money to a plant in North Carolina. When he shows up, his whole campaign is always centered around making an announcement about the federal largesse. That’s a long answer, but it’s a pattern that is pretty consistent. It sure feels like if you’re shoving money towards places that vote in your direction, it sure feels like vote buying to me.

Brent: Do you think he’s doing the same thing when he basically emptied our Strategic Petroleum Reserves to temporarily stabilize rising gas prices?

Governor Burgum: Absolutely, positively, totally correct Brent. Because it is called the “Strategic” Petroleum Reserve for our country. Strategic means at a time when we might be facing World War III — which, of course, we’re inching closer to with Biden’s appeasement, his weakness, as opposed to Trump’s strength. His weakness is what’s making things worse. It’s just amazing to me that he was never called out on this. He drained it in half ahead of the midterms to try to get prices down at the pump because he knew that would help them make the argument that their economy was better. So, he was simultaneously attacking U.S. energy production, but then making up the difference by draining the petroleum reserve. And, of course, who benefits when you attack U.S. energy? Well, Russia, Iran, and the countries we are in wars with, they benefit. Their coffers are going up by hundreds of billions of dollars and who are they selling their oil to? China, the world’s largest importer of oil and gas. 10 million barrels of oil a day go into China. Do you know who’s filling up their petroleum reserves with discount Russian oil and gas? China. So while ours was draining, China’s was growing. And so strategically, that decision put us on bad footing. And I have said, it’s not called the “Political Petroleum Reserve.” It’s called strategic, and there’s nothing strategic about trying to artificially lower prices ahead of an election cycle.

Brent: This is interesting to me because you’re the governor of a state that’s smack dab in the middle of the country. You sound pretty well rounded on China, Iran, and what’s going on globally. Where does your interest or expertise in foreign policy come from? 

Governor Burgum: Well, it starts with North Dakota’s economy. We are an agricultural economy and an energy economy. Those are our two major drivers. If you talk to a 65-year-old farmer in North Dakota, he could tell you the price of soybeans in Brazil. Everyone raising crops here is competing against global markets. I grew up understanding the price of things that were important in North Dakota. You grow up understanding that all of these global events affect people right at home and hit them in their pocketbook. My dad passed away when I was a freshman in high school. He was a World War II Navy vet. Some years later, when I was in my mid-20s, I saw a computer and I thought, That’s going to change the world. I had 160 acres of farm ground at the time that I had received from my dad. Now, that’s not enough to farm, you need like a thousand acres to do a dryland wheat farm in North Dakota. So I mortgaged the farmland and that became the seed capital for a software company called Grain Plain Software. We started with 10 kids, but we built it into a company where we had customers around the world. By the time I left that place, we had customers in 132 countries and I understood at a very young age that there are people around the world using our products. They don’t have the right to vote. They don’t have the right to free speech. They don’t have the right to assemble. They certainly don’t have the right to bear arms.

In 1989, I was coming back from Australia where we were trying to open up our first non-North American operations and I stopped in China. They said, “Hey, they’re selling software in a street market.” So, I went down there and we had not even begun selling software outside of North America. And I said, “Hey, do you have Great Plains?” And they said, “Sure.” The guy walks over and for a buck they hand you a 5 ¼ inch floppy disk. They were selling modules of our software. So, I’ve known for about 30 years that China’s been stealing every piece of software I’ve ever been involved with. When you grow up exposed to these things, with global business experience, managing people globally — I had people doing acquisitions around the world — you start to understand, uh, how, how the world works economically.

Energy is at the core of all of our national security concerns, it’s at the core of all the wars we’re fighting right now. Iran is funding the Houthis, Hamas, and they’re funding them with oil sales. President Trump had those guys on their knees, financially, and now Joe Biden with his appeasement, they’re back and as rich as they’ve ever been. And Putin personally makes money off of all the oil sales. Russia operates more like the mafia than a country. And he’s the mob boss who gets a cut of almost everything. He could arguably be the richest guy in the world. So Joe Biden’s energy policies are hurting the U S and are helping our adversaries. Consequently, we’ve got to fund wars against them while the other side of the war is being funded by folks who have huge, huge oil exports. Ultimately, the reason they have huge oil exports is because Joe Biden is trying to choke down the U.S. energy industry. So, it drives me a little bit crazy that these economic policies of Joe Biden are what’s destabilizing the world. That’s why we need President Trump back in the White House.

Brent: Transitioning to Trump, you were recently seen at this high profile Mar-a-Lago event. There’s been a lot of reporting on what was said. I’m told the president gave an almost comically long and very colorful speech about Biden and current affairs. For somebody in the room, what was it like being in there? What was the energy among Trump supporters for that event?

Governor Burgum: Well, the energy was super high and it was very fun. In spite of how it might’ve been reported to mainstream media, there was a lot of laughter, a lot of, good humor. People in the room were excited, enthusiastic. There was the Rasmussen poll that came out the day before that showed Trump leading in all these swing states. The folks who were there were donors, all entrepreneurs and job creators. These are people who have created businesses and they’ve given back to their communities and they’ve got kids and grandkids and they care about the future of this country. The energy level was very high and, and President Trump — if people have ever heard him in that environment, the guy is very funny. He’s probably one of the only politicians we’ve ever had in this country who could actually probably work as a standup comic if he wanted to as a side job. But of course he’s also produced hit TV shows. The guy knows how to entertain an audience. And he certainly has his finger on the pulse on the concerns of the American people right now, which is people are worried about the border. In 2016, it was about immigration. Today it’s about national security and public safety. He understands that people are getting crushed by Joe Biden’s inflation, and he understands that people want these wars to end. Peace and prosperity were thriving when he was in office. And those people there remember that and they’re ready to go to battle to make sure that we can get back to that. So it was a great afternoon.

Brent: What about what it feels like being on that stage? I mean, there was a lot of attention on that picture because it included a lot of people who are reportedly in contention for Trump’s coveted VP slot. Does it feel like you’re in an episode of “The Apprentice” sometimes?

Governor Burgum: I’m smiling as you’re saying that because the last episode of “The Apprentice” that Trump was on was in December of 2015, right before he announced. I think it was one of the most-watched shows of that year. So, he knows how to entertain. He certainly was entertaining that Saturday afternoon. In his speech he thought there were 50 people on the short list. So I have to reject the premise of any “short list.” I didn’t run for president because I was looking for a cabinet job or a VP job. I was doing it because I cared about the country. And the topics I cared about the most — economy, energy, national security — are the three things that I aligned almost exactly with president Trump. So it was very easy to jump in and support him like I did in 2016 and in 2020 and I’m having a good time supporting him now, because this is so important to our country.It was a high energy, very fun event.

Brent: Last question.What do you think the key is to taking Biden down in November? What’s the case that really needs to be made?

Governor Burgum: Well, I’m not a pundit, but I am a governor and I’m a citizen. I think it goes back to that classic question: Were you better off under president Trump than you are under, under Joe Biden? And I think most Americans are going to say, we were better off [under Trump]. The border was secure. Biden inflation came like a thief in the night and stole 30% of Americans’ savings. The majority of Americans now have no savings, they’re living paycheck to paycheck. And those folks are having a hard time putting food on the table and gas in their car. Something else that’s going to hit everybody more by next fall is the price of electricity. Joe Biden’s assault on energy just isn’t on liquid fuels, it’s on gas, It’s assault on electricity in the grid itself. So those are those economic issues. Trump is so far ahead in some polls, he’s +20 on the economy, he’s +20 on inflation, he’s +20 on the border, and he is he going to be strong against these dictators overseas — the Iranians, the Russians, and the Chinese. So he wins on all that. It’s going to come down to whether or not the message can be delivered out to the swing voters in those swing counties, that’s what’s going to really matter in the end. If the message is out there, President Trump could win and could win big. But there are a lot of folks in the mainstream media and others who are pushing an alternative vision of the world, which, of course, I don’t think the facts support, but that’s going to be the challenge. So the Trump team and everybody supporting Trump is going to have to make sure they vote, they’re going to have to run through the tape. This is going to be a battle right to the end.

Brent: All right. Well, thank you so much for being with us, Governor Burgum. We appreciate it

Governor Burgum: Thank you, Brent.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Governor Doug Burgum On Democrats Buying Votes And The War On U.S. Energy