North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum knows business. Enough to know the subsidiary answers to the parent company.
Addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition Leadership Summit in Las Vegas on Saturday, Burgum, a longshot presidential candidate, criticized U.S. President Joe Biden for failing to call out Iran in the wake of the massacre in Israel carried out on Oct. 7 by Hamas, a proxy of the Islamic Republic.
“It’s just ridiculous to me that we have a president who the day after the Oct. 7 attacks, didn’t even mention Iran in his remarks at the White House,” said Burgum, a billionaire software and real estate developer.
“Joe Biden literally didn’t talk about it. This is like mentioning the subsidiary, but I’m not going to talk about the parent company that’s providing all the funding,” Burgum told JNS. “Hamas is a proxy of Iran. Hezbollah is a proxy of Iran. We have to understand who we’re at war with, and then we have to take the appropriate action.”
Speaking to a larger crowd of Jews than he would find in the entire Peace Garden State, Burgum accused Biden of “effectively funding both sides of this war. He wants to provide relief to both sides and he’s doing that because in his own party, he’s got a far-left party that doesn’t understand the difference between right and wrong.”
The Democratic Party doesn’t possess the “moral clarity to understand that, you know, who’s innocent in this situation—the people that were attacked versus those people that were doing the attacking,” he said.
Burgum, who is struggling with name recognition, gave a back-to-basics speech on Saturday, emphasizing a platform based on the economy, energy policy and national security.
He told JNS that the events of Oct. 7 proved those three items are interrelated, and will all land on the desk of the next president.
“Our energy policies embolden countries like Russia, and they support the largest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, when we lift sanctions on Iranian oil exports,” Burgum told JNS. That oil is then “going to China, so we’re supporting a country who we’re in a deep cold war with right now,” he added.
Claiming the United States is in proxy wars with Russia and Iran and a cold war with China, Burgum, who hails from energy-focused North Dakota, said America should be “selling energy to our friends and allies and [should] stop buying it from our adversaries.”
He doubled down on criticism of Biden, accusing his administration of freeing up tens of billions of dollars of previously frozen Iranian assets, including billions in a hostage deal, in “chasing some kind of fantasy around the Obama-Biden nuclear deal” while allowing China to fill its strategic petroleum reserve with Iranian oil.
“He’s literally helping our adversaries with the policies that he has put in place right now,” said Burgum.
Burgum also served as part of the evening’s entertainment on Saturday night, with comedian Modi playing off North Dakota’s small Jewish population by singling out Burgum to explain to him Jewish references throughout his act.
Burgum seemed to take it all in stride. He noted to JNS his support for North Dakota’s approximately 400 Jewish residents, including his 2017 proclamation of Jewish Homesteaders’ Day to honor the roughly 1,200 Jewish farmers who settled on 250 homesteads across the state.
“We do have an interesting and long history in North Dakota with the people of Jewish faith that were the pioneers that came there in the 1880s. And many of those families are still connected there today,” he told JNS.
He referred to the RJC audience as “people who care deeply about freedom, democracy, their faith and this country, and it’s so wonderful, wonderful to be with them.”