GOP Governor Accuses Biden of ‘Buying’ Votes by Forgiving Student Debt

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum accused Joe Biden of “vote-buying going on at a scale like we have never seen before” because the president has forgiven student loan debt for nearly four million Americans.

“You start trying to give away hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money… it’s like we’re borrowing to give it away… When you see those citizens understand those are like pre-election payoffs,” Burgum said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “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?”

Burgum continued, “The people that are working hard and are paying off their debts and aren’t getting loan relief are saying, ‘Hey, this is just isn’t fair.’ And, in America, people want things to be fair, not unfair. And I think it’s clear that there’s vote-buying going on at a scale like we have never seen before.”

Viewed through Burgum’s cynical lens, then arguably the $1,200 per income tax filer stimulus checks signed by Trump and distributed in April 2020 were his own attempt at buying votes ahead of the November elections. Or, as host Jake Tapper pointed out, Trump’s promises to lower taxes on the rich could also be seen as buying votes.

“Does [Biden forgiving student loans] offend you more than Donald Trump telling a room full of donors, wealthy people — millionaires, billionaires — that he’s going to cut their taxes? Is that buying votes any different?” Tapper asked.

On Saturday, Trump addressed a group of wealthy Republican donors and accused Biden using “welfare” to cheat in elections. “Don’t underestimate welfare. They get welfare to vote, and then they cheat on top of that — they cheat,” Trump told donors this weekend.

Burgum, however, said he doesn’t think that was Trump’s “intention that he meant when he said that.”

Burgum responded to Tapper’s question by pushing back against the host’s characterization that Trump’s donors are wealthy donors but did not directly answer whether promising lower taxes is an attempt at buying votes. “Well, first of all, I just reject the whole premise of this idea of wealthy donors,” Burgum said. “I mean, the room of people that were there yesterday are all people that were job creators. These are Americans that took risks, that sometimes risk everything they had to start a business.”

“So, they’re not wealthy?” Tapper asked skeptically.

“Well, they’re wealthy now because the American system of capitalism worked for them to create jobs, to help them build their communities,” Burgum said, adding that Trump’s donors “are among the most generous people in the country.” (Generous except, perhaps, when it comes to paying taxes.)

Responding to Trump’s Saturday night comments that the Biden administration is like the “Gestapo” and that the president is orchestrating Trump’s prosecution, Burgum said that a “majority of Americans feel like the trial that he’s in right now is politically motivated.”

Only 34 percent of Americans polled late last month said that Trump was receiving harsher treatment than other criminal defendants.

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