GOP Senator Cramer Dismisses Trump Criticism Over Infrastructure Vote, Touts Bill's Merits

Senator Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican, dismissed the criticism from fellow GOP lawmakers and former President Donald Trump of his and other Republicans' decision to support President Joe Biden's bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The Senate approved the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package in August with the backing of 19 GOP senators—including Cramer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The legislation was then passed in the House earlier this month with the support of 13 Republicans.

Trump and some GOP lawmakers have been highly critical of the Republicans who backed the bill, suggesting they should face some kind of retribution. The former president has even voiced his support for primary challengers against some of the Republican members of Congress.

During a Sunday interview with NBC News' Meet the Press, Cramer was asked about the backlash from Trump and other Republicans. Host Chuck Todd queried the North Dakota senator over whether he would still vote for the infrastructure bill considering the condemnation it has received from the former president.

Kevin Cramer
Senator Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota) dismissed former President Donald Trump's criticism of Republicans who voted in favor of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. In this photo, Cramer speaks during a news conference in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on November 4 in Washington, D.C. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

"Oh I would have," Cramer responded. "I happen to be the ranking member of the [Senate's] Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, so I helped write a good part of this bill. I was advocating for it long before Mitch McConnell announced his support for it."

"So he [Trump] didn't induce me in any way," Cramer continued, noting that he discussed the legislation directly with the former president in what he described as a "pretty healthy conversation." He said that chat came after "a national television appearance where I talked about the merits of the bill."

Cramer again asserted that he "would have" voted for the legislation regardless of the pushback.

"I don't make my decision on legislation based on whether it hurts or helps Donald Trump or whether it hurts or helps Joe Biden."

The senator said whether Biden "gets a victory or not," he doesn't believe every "transaction in Washington requires a losers."

"When North Dakotans can win, if Joe Biden looks good in the process, I'm more concerned about the North Dakotans," Cramer said.

Newsweek reached out to Trump's press office for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Trump has repeatedly slammed Republicans who voted for the infrastructure bill. After the legislation passed in the House, the former president released an official statement on November 7 calling the GOP lawmakers who backed it "RINOs"—an acronym meaning "Republicans in name only."

"Very sad that RINOs in the House and Senate gave Biden and Democrats a victory on the 'Non-Infrastructure' Bill," Trump said.

The former president also remarked: "All Republicans who voted for Democrat longevity should be ashamed of themselves."

The large bipartisan bill invests a historic amount of money in the nation's roads, highways, public transportation and bridges, as well as in electric vehicles, clean energy, and high-speed broadband internet access. Some of the plans included in the bill were initially proposed by the Trump administration as it tried repeatedly and failed to have a successful "infrastructure week."

McConnell, like Cramer, has shrugged off the criticism of Republicans supporting the bill.

"I'm glad it passed," the top Senate Republican, who represents Kentucky, told Louisville's WHAS11 this month. He asserted that the legislation is "good for the country."