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No Trump for now: Zinke as keynote delays North Dakota POTUS visit

Trump isn't coming to North Dakota--for now. The North Dakota Republican Party's announcement that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will deliver the keynote at its convention this weekend puts to rest a weeks-long mystery surrounding the agenda's to...

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President Donald Trump delivers remarks about his Infrastructure Initiative inside the Local 18 Richfield Training Site facility in Richfield, Ohio, March 29, 2018. (Tom Brenner/Copyright 2018 The New York Times)
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Trump isn't coming to North Dakota-for now.

The North Dakota Republican Party's announcement that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will deliver the keynote at its convention this weekend puts to rest a weeks-long mystery surrounding the agenda's top speaker spot. But that same suspense had led to speculation that a higher-ranking administration official-perhaps President Donald Trump-might make the visit.

And for some, that's meant adjusting expectations for this weekend's remarks.

"The thing about Zinke, is initially (one may think) 'that's not the A team,' and given the fact that our Senate race is going to be a nationally focused race ... I may have expected someone else," said Ed Schafer, a former North Dakota governor and U.S. agriculture secretary. But he noted that Zinke has been part of a deregulation agenda affecting broad swaths of property owners, including farmers, and quickly warmed to the idea. "As I thought about it, though, he's in charge of a department that has a lot of impact on North Dakota."

Likewise for State Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, who pointed out that Zinke's experience as a Montana congressman means he understands "the challenges that states on the northern border might have." He added his confidence that Trump will visit the state ahead of the November election.

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There's still temptation to speculate that the commander-in-chief may visit this weekend, but signs have begun to point very much against it. Grand Forks Police Chief Mark Nelson said earlier this week that, with the convention only days away, the announcement of a presidential visit would require an extraordinary short-term effort to coordinate security.

And Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. and this weekend's presumptive endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate, said he thinks he'd have heard by now if Trump had any plans to visit.

"But he is a man of impulse," Cramer said.

Related Topics: KEVIN CRAMERRAY HOLMBERG
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