President Donald Trump tweeted his endorsement of GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer for U.S. Senate on Wednesday, just days after the North Dakota politician complained that the president wasn’t doing enough to support his campaign.
In an interview with The Washington Post published Monday, Cramer said he felt Trump was showing preferential treatment to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, his opponent and one of the few Democratic politicians who has signaled her willingness to work with the president.
Cramer and Heitkamp both won their party’s nominations in the June 12 primary and will face off in the Nov. 6 midterm election.
If there was any doubt whether Trump supported Cramer in his campaign against Heitkamp, the president dispelled it on Wednesday.
Heitkamp, once thought to be on Trump’s shortlist to head the Agriculture, Energy or Interior departments, was the sole Democratic lawmaker at a White House event on May 24 marking the signing of a bill to roll back a number of bank regulations.
“Heidi, thank you very much, appreciate it,” Trump said at the event, calling out Heitkamp, who helped ramp up enough Democratic votes to get the bill through Congress.
Cramer told the Post he believed Trump might be treating Heitkamp differently than other Democrats because she’s a woman.
“I do think there’s a little difference in that she’s a woman,” the congressman said. “That’s probably part of it — that she’s a, you know, a female. He doesn’t want to be that aggressive, maybe. I don’t know.”
Heitkamp rejected Cramer’s analysis.
“Well, that wouldn’t explain Claire,” she told the Post, referring to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), whom Trump has openly attacked. “I think she’s a woman, right? That theory falls apart almost immediately.”