'There's vote-buying going on at a scale like we have never seen before'

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on Sunday supported the election integrity allegations made by former President Donald Trump, claiming on CNN: “I think it’s clear that there’s vote-buying going on at a scale like we have never seen before.”

Burgum, who is considered to be a possible Trump vice-presidential pick, was responding on “State of the Union” to questions about statements made by the presumptive GOP presidential nominee during a weekend donor retreat in Florida.

Trump, never shy about alleging uncorroborated malfeasance by Democrats, said his rivals use “welfare” as an enticement to get people to vote for them. “Don’t underestimate welfare. They get welfare to vote, and then they cheat on top of that — they cheat,” Trump said in his remarks on Saturday.

Burgum didn’t endorse the idea that everyone receiving public assistance is being bribed to vote (“I don’t think that’s the intention that he meant when he said that”) but then circled back to the idea of vote-buying, citing President Joe Biden‘s efforts to partially forgive some student loan debt.

You start trying to give away hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money, and it’s not even — it’s like we’re borrowing to give it away. It’s not tax and spend. It’s borrow, borrow from the Chinese, and give it away,” he said.

Burgum added: “Citizens understand those are like preelection payoffs. Those are like, hey, folks, please vote for us because we’re relieving your debt. So at what point does it cross over, programs like student debt, to just vote-buying?” He then answered his own question, saying he saw this as an unprecedented effort at obtaining votes.

A two-term governor, Burgum was part of the 2024 Republican presidential field until dropping out in December. In July 2023, in order to meet the threshold of individual donors each candidate needed to participate in the GOP’s first debate, Burgum announced a campaign to reward individual donors with $20 gift cards.

“Doug knows people are hurting because of Bidenflation and giving Biden Economic Relief Gift Cards is a way to help 50,000 people until Doug is elected President to fix this crazy economy for everyone,” spokesperson Lance Trover said at the time.

On Sunday, Burgum also defended Trump in response to other questions from host Jake Tapper, including about the former president’s current criminal trial in New York.

“If it was anybody else, this trial wouldn’t even be happening,” Burgum said. He also said it would be “a travesty of justice” should Trump be convicted.

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