Transcript: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on “Face the Nation,” June 2, 2024

The following is a transcript of an interview with North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on “Face the Nation” that aired on June 2, 2024.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. Based on our CBS News reporting, he is under serious consideration by the former president to become his running mate in this campaign. Good morning to you, Governor.

GOV. DOUG BURGUM (R-ND): Good morning, Margaret. Good to be with you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s good to have you back on “Face the Nation.” You just heard our polling there. 57% Americans think the jury reached the right verdict. 56% think Trump got a fair trial. A majority of Americans are unconvinced by this claim that it’s all a sham. Why do you think it is?

GOV. BURGUM: Well, I think part of it, of course, polling is a point in time and I had a chance to briefly look at some of your poll numbers this morning. And I also saw there that almost two thirds of the respondents said they weren’t paying close attention. And I understand that they’re not paying close attention to the trial, because most Americans out there, you know, they’ve got- working Americans don’t have time to watch, you know, TV all day, read every report, because they’re facing all the things, you know, putting food on the table, gas in the car, all the challenges that they’re facing. And I think that as this moment in time passes, when we have the election coming this fall, people are going to make a decision about, were they better, are they better off today than they were four years ago? And this is an unusual thing, that- this is not- President Trump’s not a candidate that’s unknown or never run before. They had an opportunity to live their life under four years of him. And they had a chance to, you know, prosper. And they had a chance to understand what the world was like. No wars. And now that- it’s a very different situation. So I- I think well, this is- it’s interesting, and it’s captivating right now to a lot of people, the election is not going to turn on this trial.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The U.S. isn’t involved in a war right now, either. But, in–

GOV. BURGUM: Well, we’re involved in two proxy wars.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We were then as well. But on- on your point, Donald Trump spends a lot of time talking about these trials. It- it’s not just journalists. And it’s historic. But he talks quite a lot about it. And, in fact, he held an extensive news conference Friday with a litany of grievances against the judge, who will still have to decide on his sentencing. Personal judgment wise, do you think that was a smart thing to do?

GOV. BURGUM: Well, I have a lot of empathy for what he must feel like, and- because as a business person, I- and I- someone who spent- and I spent 30 years in tech, but a lot of that was in software that dealt with business processes, I’ve- I’ve never seen anything like this, where you can, you know, magically take, you know, a transaction that gets spread out over 11- 11 paychecks, or paychecks- 12 vouchers, you know, 11 invoices, and suddenly each of those around one decision, they magically become set of misdemeanors, they become a felony. And if they’re misdemean–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because of the election fraud. That- as you just heard.

GOV. BURGUM: Well- but- I don’t know that anybody in America, if we’re asking about the voter, I don’t know if anybody American can explain how a business transaction filing, errors from 7 years ago, become federal election law, when federal election law is not a state, this is brought in a county court. Federal election is federal. And I don’t know the alchemy of transforming these misdemeanors, which had a two year statute of limitations. Well, I’m saying from a business perspective, CEOs around America, if you’ve had hundreds of millions of business filings in America in the last 7 years, why aren’t our courts clogged with other CEOs that were dragged in front of–

MARGARET BRENNAN: If they were running for president and changing those business records to obscure donations to their own campaign- you know what I’m saying, this isn’t just filing error. But–

GOV. BURGUM: Well, I- I hear what you’re saying. But most Americans cannot explain it. Many of the legal experts–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Should- it’s complicated. Sure.

GOV. BURGUM: Many of the legal experts that stood on the curb outside the courthouse for 6 years can’t- for 6 weeks, can’t explain it. So Americans are going to come back to the issues that affect them because this trial outcome doesn’t affect them. Their- inflation affects them–

MARGARET BRENNAN: It does. And I want to talk about some of those issues more in depth with you in a few minutes. We just put up a graph to- to show you our- our polling, it’s two thirds of those polled said they are watching closely. But in- in terms of like, the bookkeeping argument, this was about a criminal conspiracy to influence an election and creating paperwork to cover it up. If the quibble is about paperwork violations, the president of the United States, his son, says, under the influence of drugs, he committed a paperwork error. That’s now going to federal court because of what he did in purchasing that gun. That was a paperwork violation. Are you also offended by that? Is that also a miscarriage of justice?

GOV. BURGUM: Well, I think what’s sad for America is the whole weaponization of the- the system. And what we’re going to see more of this, I mean, earlier in–

MARGARET BRENNAN: You think it’s weaponized against Hunter Biden?

GOV. BURGUM: I think that is- is weaponized against President Trump. But if you’re going to talk about equivalency in the courts, then we know that media companies have- have acknowledged that they worked in- in conjunction with the federal government to suppress information about Hunter Biden’s laptop during an election year.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That is not true whatsoever when it comes to this journalist or the journalists involved with this program.

GOV. BURGUM: Well, then why was- why were his stories about it taken down off of media companies? Why- why- why was it being suppressed during that election? Why- so- why- talking about the Steele dossier, I mean, we could go back. There- there is all kinds of things going on in our country related to election integrity, and I think whether you’re an independent, you’re a Democrat, you’re a Republican, we should all care about election integrity. And- and we- and if we want- if we want to have equivalency, then- it- to make sure that we have a level playing field.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We have to finish this conversation on the other side of this commercial break. So let me do that and we’ll finish it. So stay with me, Governor, and stay with us. One second.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to “Face the Nation.” We want to continue our conversation now with North Dakota Republican governor, Doug Burgum. Governor, North Dakota has tremendous energy resources, and you reportedly are helping the Trump campaign craft energy policy. That’s accurate?

GOV. BURGUM: Well, I wouldn’t say that. I’m just saying that I’m volunteering to support President Trump during this campaign, because as an energy rich state full of natural resources. And I’ve had the honor of being a governor under President Trump and also under President Biden. And I see the difference between the two administrations. And I’ve got a front row seat in understanding that the- the Biden energy policies are, you know, hard on the American consumers, they’re empowering adversaries overseas, and they’re really tough on our allies.

MARGARET BRENNAN: There- there is more oil being produced in this country now than any country ever. 13 million barrels per day last year.

GOV. BURGUM: Yeah, and North Dakota is down and Iran is up under these policies. And the policies are built around the idea that somehow if you shut down the U.S. energy industry, that- that that’s gonna be good for the environment. But when we stop production here, it may be higher than it has been before–


MARGARET BRENNAN: It has- it is. 

GOV. BURGUM: –by a- a little bit. But it should be much higher, because we should be displacing energy coming from Venezuela–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, let me ask you about that. Let me–

GOV. BURGUM: –coming from Iran, coming from Russia. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Let me ask you about that.

GOV. BURGUM: The people that are funding the wars that we’re fighting are doing that on their oil sales.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Let me ask you that. Is- according to the “Washington Post,” and their reporting, Donald Trump met with oil executives and said, if they raise a billion dollars to return him to the White House, he’ll reduce regulation if elected, start auctioning off leases for drilling–

GOV. BURGUM: I was at- I was at that meeting, that did not happen. That is not what happened at that meeting. And that’s been reported over and over and over again–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Did he ask for a billion dollars in donations?

GOV. BURGUM: He didn’t ask for a billion dollars in donations, and there was no quid pro quo. I mean, think what he did last time for the energy- this guy cut regulation for everybody, whether they donated to him or not, he helped get gas prices down for all Americans, Republicans, independents and Democrats, whether they donated to him or not–



GOV. BURGUM: –drives me crazy–

MARGARET BRENNAN: –the economy was also shut down–

GOV. BURGUM: –what- prices- the people went on-

MARGARET BRENNAN: –due to covid- lower prices–

GOV. BURGUM: –people went to hearsay- that weren’t at the meeting, on hearsay, report it like it’s a fact, when it’s not a fact.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I’m asking you to make sure. The “Washington Post” also reported that Trump suggested to those oil executives he would ease scrutiny of industry, mergers and acquisitions if he wins. Do you think that the industry needs to consolidate and Big Oil needs to get bigger?

GOV. BURGUM: I think that the- free enterprise needs to operate in ways that are efficiently to be able to compete on a global- on a global level and what’s going on in the industry–

MARGARET BRENNAN: So he would do that. 

GOV. BURGUM: I’m not saying he would do that. But I tell you what- what Joe Biden’s administration is doing right now. Two companies want to merge. And then they come in and then they, what, they confiscate all the executives’ phone numbers ahead of time, make accusations about collusions. This has never happened to another industry.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, what was promised in that meeting, since you said you were there?

GOV. BURGUM: He- he didn’t make promises. He- listen, he went around the room for two hours, asking each of the people to tell me, what are your challenges? What are you facing? What are- what are the things that- he was there learning the whole night about the challenges that we’re facing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, is he targeting the industry to- to finance his reelection bid?

GOV. BURGUM: I think anybody he’s met with, he’ll be meeting with people in Silicon Valley, he’s meeting people in- across every industry. He’s not targeting anybody. He’s doing what candidates do, which is, you go and listen to an industry, and this industry in particular, which is the fundamental to the entire economy. It’s not just one industry, it feeds the inflation which is affecting every American, to say, what can we do to produce cleaner energy more efficiently? President Trump talks all the time about getting oil prices down. Oil executives are not thrilled when he says, I’m going to get oil prices down. You know, they- they make more money when oil prices are up.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay, so, climate and environmental policy are important to young voters in particular. Are you at all concerned that you will alienate them by aligning so closely with the energy industry?

GOV. BURGUM: Well, I’m not concerned about it at all because I know in North Dakota, we’re- we- we are producing energy cleaner, safer and smarter than anyplace else in the world here in the United States.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you do want to keep some of the environmental restrictions, then?

GOV. BURGUM: The environmental restrictions are hurting this country, they’re not helping it. If innovation- reg- people who think that you’re going to solve the environmental issues with regulations, the way we solve that is with innovation. And the way we solve it with innovation is we innovate to have zero carbon liquid fuels or low carbon liquid fuels. The Biden administration is on Team China, they want to have every car be an EV. And then we got to get- China controls 85% of the rare earth minerals.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But- but they just tariffed them- would talk to you for an hour about rare earth minerals, Sir, we’ll have to have you come back another time to talk about that global competition. But we’re gonna have to leave it there.

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