(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Governor Doug Burgum (R-ND), 2024 GOP presidential candidate, spoke to Brian Kilmeade about how republican voters are most concerned about the economy, national security, and the border. Burgrum feels his campaign is blowing past expectations by coming in at 1% in the polls because they expected to be at 0%. On the indictment of Donald Trump, Burgum says he has learned from being on the ground in New Hampshire and Iowa that voters are very concerned about the double standard, one standard for Republicans and one standard for Democrats. Burgum feels if Americans start to believe that the rule of law is not being applied equally in this country, that’s more serious than any charges.

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Rough Transcript:

Brian Kilmeade [00:00:00] With me right now is somebody who threw his hat in the ring last week to officially be running for president, United States for the GOP nomination. First, it is North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. Doug, welcome back.

Gov Doug Burgum [00:00:12] Good morning, Brian. Great to be with you.

Brian Kilmeade [00:00:14] So what was week one like?

Gov Doug Burgum [00:00:17] Well, the first five days were amazing. We had this fantastic launch in North Dakota, then Thursday, Friday and Iowa. Saturday, Sunday in New Hampshire had a great reception. I met lots of people that were excited to have us in the race and excited to have us coming back. So we’re off and running. And one thing we’ve learned is that the Republican primary voters out there are very concerned about the economy, very concerned about Biden’s energy policy and very concerned about national security, including the border and everything going on with China, Russia, North Korea. And that’s what we’re running on. Those three things the economy, energy and national security. So we had some great conversations with the citizens. And of course, coming from a small town in North Dakota, we met a lot of people from small towns in Iowa and New Hampshire and really understand that there’s a lot of the best of America going on out there. There’s still lots of places where neighbors are helping neighbors instead of neighbors fighting with neighbors and pretty energizing to get out for the first lady, Catherine and I, to meet those people and see what’s going on on the ground.

Brian Kilmeade [00:01:15] So tell everyone your story where you came up. Your dad died when you were in ninth grade.

Gov Doug Burgum [00:01:21] Yup, that’s right. Brian. That was my dad was a World War Two vet. After Pearl Harbor, he went down the road from here to North Dakota, where he was born and raised a little town of 300 people and went into the German coast and signed up for the Navy. And you’ll get a kick out of this is an author. But he ended up you know, he had a college degree for North Dakota State. So he went through the 90 day Wonder program. They were turning college grads into naval officers. He got assigned to a destroyer built in Bremerton, Washington, was part for my mom for over two years during World War Two in the Pacific and lived to tell about it. But the ship he was on was the USS Wren, who and you would know Solomon Wren from your book Thomas Jefferson The Tripoli Pirates, because he was one of the young men that volunteered to go on that on that daring raid with the with Lieutenant Decatur to.

Brian Kilmeade [00:02:13] Put the Philadelphia burn.

Gov Doug Burgum [00:02:15] Up, burned up the Philadelphia. So that’s where the the USS ran. And I guess his good fortune carried through because my dad was on there’s 151 destroyers that at Okinawa, 129 of them got hit by kamikazes. And he was on one that made it through, but made it all the way through to to Tokyo Bay on September 2nd, 1945. That was his 28th birthday, but came home and raised three kids. An incredible guy, taught us about community, taught us about, you know, commitment to community and service to country. But like Shit said, died when I was a freshman in high school. So my mom went back into the workforce as a widow with three kids. And then after after college, I had inherited a little bit of land from him and a mortgage that farmland literally. But the farm tried to seed capital for a company. It was a tiny startup that became Great Plains software. Eight years later, we were an overnight success story. We built it into a company with 2000 people, with over 100,000 customers in over 100 countries around the world, and that company was acquired by Microsoft. They stayed there for seven years and helped build Microsoft and then then sort of tried to retire. But that led to multiple more startups and more software companies and more job creation and more interesting things going on. And then in 2016, we had an open seat for governor. I had never run for office before and decided to jump into the race. We were the long shot. We were the dark horse. We were the person no one heard of. We were down 6910 in the poll before we decided to run. We said, Let’s jump in any way. Competition is good for the Republican Party, the state level on the national level. And six months later we won the primary 6040 and went on to win in the fall and almost 8020. And then in 20, that was 2016. And 2020 we got reelected by the largest margin of any governor race in the country that year of over 40 points. And we’ve been focusing here on driving conservative principles, limited government. We had the largest tax cut in the history of the state, just passed about six weeks ago. We finally solved the the horrible conundrum of pension reform. We’ve got that that fixed in North Dakota. That was a three decades effort that we got accomplished. We’ve been focused on cutting red tape, which is we had 51 or 52 red tape reduction bills are passed. And then the other thing, which is a full time job in North Dakota’s pushing back on the Biden administration, because whether it’s the U.S. or whether it’s their, you know, their attempts to illegally ban drilling for oil and gas in North Dakota being a huge energy state, one of the largest in the country, we produce 1.1 million barrels of oil a day. That’s more than most OPEC countries. And so we’re constantly in a battle with the federal government. And we also have got to air bases and 150 missiles in North Dakota. We understand the important role of national security in our state. And so this is why we’re running on the economy and on energy and national security.

Brian Kilmeade [00:05:11] So, yeah, I mean, right now, if you look at the CBS poll of likely voters, it’s Trump 61 to Sanders, 23, Scott Pence with four and Haley with three. Everybody else is just 1%. I mean, everything you said is so convincing and it’s I mean, what are you, one of the most successful Americans in the country? You’re an example of an American success story. You’re somebody that made all the money and wants to use some of that management experience to help the country. That’s what it truly should be, service. But how do you get your voice heard in an environment where no one has been able to outshine Trump for good or bad, he dominates all headlines.

Gov Doug Burgum [00:05:53] Well, I think we were smiling on our team this morning because there was a poll that came out last night that had us had 1% and we expected to be at zero. So we’re blowing past expectations. Gotcha. We we’ve been in this race for five days. We love the spot we’re in because, yeah, we got low rate name recognition. But everybody that knows us in North Dakota, you know, a state where where I pulled in bigger numbers than Trump in the state of North Dakota, people that know us. Love us. And so we like the position we’re in and we’re just going to have to get out there and tell our tell our story. When I was in first got in a tiny software company and I bet the farm I went to Comdex, huge trade show. You know, I thought I’d done all the research. There was no Internet. Then I thought, Oh, there’s like a half a dozen companies in this business. We’re going to just walk in here and we’re going to march right to the top. I picked up the trade show. Look, there were 64 companies delivering the same kind of software for small and midsize businesses we were trying to do. And so you learn on day one, you know, you don’t don’t you know, when you’re just starting your company, the first thing you don’t do is attack them. Attack the someone who’s got the biggest market share, the biggest name recognition. You got to tell your own story. And that’s what we’re going to focus on doing right now.

Brian Kilmeade [00:07:06] Governor Burgum is with us right now. So one of the big challenges China, I think, is reuniting Democrats and Republicans, how they plan on tackling the challenge. That’s where the rubber hits the road. We see that they’re dominating Central America in South America. See, they’re trying to get a foothold in Africa. We see they’re trying to split Western Europe away from us. And now we find out that this administration’s revealed The Wall Street Journal revealed that they have a spy, they have a huge spy base in Cuba 100 miles off our coast. So here is John Ratcliffe, because this administration is trying to say, well, this is something we inherited. John Ratcliffe, who was DNI from Trump, said this cut, 38.

Speaker 3 [00:07:47] China is in a Cold War with us and we are not in one with them. And as a result, China is winning that Cold War because this administration and you know, you’ve touched on this before, Maria, there could be a number of reasons for it. It may be an issue of cowardice. It may be an issue of competence in terms of the president’s abilities. Yeah. Or it may be an issue of complicity. None of those are good. But clearly China is gaining the upper hand and will for the next two years in this situation.

Brian Kilmeade [00:08:14] Do you feel the same way you think this administration is asleep or watching this because they’re desperate to get talks going? To me, it makes us look pathetic.

Gov Doug Burgum [00:08:23] Well, I agree, absolutely. I’ve been saying for months that we’re in a Cold war with China. It’s just that no one’s acknowledging that. So I mean, I agree with that. Absolutely. Completely. And my personal experience with China. But first time first time I was there was 1982. They had just opened up. The second time I was there was 1980, 89. I was on our way back from Australia. We were trying to set up our little software company to sell software overseas. I swung through China on the way back as kind of a let me say, half as a joke, but I had heard that they could buy software, American software in a street market. We weren’t even selling our product overseas at that time. Well, I went into the street market. I said, Do you have great plane software? They said, yes. They went over and got a five and a quarter inch floppy disk. It was they were selling it for a buck. Our software sold for $5,000 a module. So I’ve spent the last 30 years watching China Pirate every piece of intellectual property that I’ve made and all of our competitors have made. And, you know, in this regard, they can’t be trusted. And so the war we’re we’re in we’re in a cyber war. We get attacked every day. Is the state of North Dakota by North Korea, Russia, China, trying to get at our systems in the state of North Dakota. That’s just a constant state. And the Biden administration doesn’t acknowledge that every state is kind of on their own trying to do their own cybersecurity. There’s not a national cyber defense program. We can’t call the DOD and say, hey, the North Koreans are trying to get into a little school district by the Canadian border to get at the addresses of the parents who serve in the national North Dakota National Guard, who contract who providing the ground protection for those missiles. I mean, it is just a complete lapse of responsibility. Everyone, again, the federal government spends all their time on stuff that is just not in the Constitution. It’s not what the federal government is supposed to do. But national security and border security are explicit in those limited roles of the federal government. And when I’m president, absolutely. I’ve learned this as a CEO. I’m not going to be spending time on stuff that can be delegated to states, delegated to the city or delegated to a local public library. When the president, United States, whose time is just like a CEO, is super scarce, you’ve got to focus on the things that are most important to the most important, most number of Americans.

Brian Kilmeade [00:10:38] Were they right, Governor, was the right to indict President Trump?

Gov Doug Burgum [00:10:44] Well, the thing that I learned from being on the ground in New Hampshire and in Iowa is that voters are very concerned about a double standard. But they they they see the news. They they understand they know that Joe Biden had documents, you know, sitting in his garage and they’re just saying, hey, you know, are we in a spot in our country where that we’ve got a completely double standard, one standard for Republicans and one standard for Democrats? And so I think when you have that deep concern in that’s an erosion in the trust of an important institution. If Americans start to believe that the rule of law is not being applied equally in this country, you know, that’s that’s actually more serious than any charges. I mean, that’s that’s the start of a division in where we’re going. And one of the things that has to happen again, as I’m when I’m president, we’re going to be applying the law equally. We have to restore trust in these institutions. You cannot have a democracy where people don’t don’t trust what’s going on.

Brian Kilmeade [00:11:44] All right, Governor. Best of luck out there. We look forward to catch up with you on the way and to tell your story. Guys like you, I think, just benefit the country when you can use your expertise and your success and kind of spread the wealth around with your knowledge. So I’m so glad you’re in the race. Has been great hearing your story.

Gov Doug Burgum [00:12:00] Great. Thank you, Brian. Look forward to being back on with you again.

Brian Kilmeade [00:12:03] Oh, absolutely.