(BISMARCK, ND) – Once again, Kevin Cramer is attempting to paper over his disastrous record on Native American issues and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Now that it’s an election year, Cramer is rushing to put his name on a new provision in VAWA that allows tribes to prosecute offenders for threatened domestic violence against children and law enforcement on reservations. The original 2013 tribal provision allowed tribal courts to prosecute non-Indian defendants accused of violence against American Indian women.
But back in 2013 when the tribal provision was first included in VAWA, Cramer had a completely different attitude. He bitterly complained about the provision he now seeks to expand, calling it unconstitutional, and said he would feel unsafe as a non-Native man going onto a reservation. Apparently that wasn’t offensive enough to show his displeasure with the provision. At one tribal council meeting, Cramer grew violent and allegedly said he would like to “wring the tribal councils’ necks and slam them against the wall” as he addressed a domestic violence survivor.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
ThinkProgress: Republican congressman dismisses Kavanaugh claims while pushing for tougher anti-abuse laws
By Josh Israel
- Kevin Cramer (R-ND), his party’s nominee against incumbent Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, made national headlines on Friday when he dismissed the first set of allegations of attempted rape against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as “absurd.” His reasoning: the parties involved were drunk teens and the alleged sexual assault was “supposedly an attempt or something that never went anywhere.”
- But just one daybefore his suggestion that attempted attacks wouldn’t be disqualifying for a Supreme Court justice, he signed on as co-sponsor of a bill to make it easier for Native American tribes to prosecute threats of domestic abuse in their tribal court systems.
- While his comments about the accusation against Kavanaugh of attempted sexual would seem to contradict his support for legislation protecting minors from attempted abuse, his own record would also seem to contradict his support for this legislation. In 2013, he opposedthe tribal provisions in the bill as “inadvertently placing in jeopardy future convictions under the act” because they could violate constitutional due process.
- Weeks after that February 2013 vote, Cramer reportedly threatened members of the Spirit Lake Tribal Council with physical violence over tribal handling of child protection, saying that he wanted to “[w]ring the Tribal Council’s neck and slam them against the wall.” Cramer later apologized for his “tone and rhetoric, better suited for active debate in Congress rather than in addressing the protectors of our most vulnerable citizens.”