Cruz calls for CNMI GOP support
Jason Osborne, executive director of the local GOP party, has defended his role in the ongoing Republican Presidential nominee race against attacks from within the local party that candidate Donald Trump plagiarized policy statements from then GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson in a recent op-ed on U.S territories and Commonwealth issues.
Osborne, who worked as senior strategist and communications director under Carson, is now an advisor to the Trump campaign.
“Plagiarizing ideas, when you accept those ideas, isn’t plagiarism, it’s just flattery,” Osborne told Saipan Tribune in a phone call last week.
Trump’s March 9 op-ed, where he calls for a “Territory and Commonwealth Advisory Committee” that Carson also did in a Feb. 26 piece in support of territory concerns, has drawn the concern of a local GOP official, who has been heavily involved in party activity in recent years.
The official, who insisted on anonymity because the person was not authorized to reveal party workings, called Trump’s words “copy and paste.”
The fact that Osborne is the local executive director for the GOP and a Trump director is also “shaky ground,” the official said.
Osborne, the GOP insider said, has “close relations” with party leaders and elected party officials. Candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, the official revealed, has also been trying to make “in-roads” with the party leadership, with Gov. Eddie Calvo, a Cruz supporter, acting as a “surrogate” to Cruz and reaching out to party leaders recently.
A “huge issue” with Trump, the official said, is not just Trump’s position to deport America’s 12 million undocumented immigrants but also his opposition on the regulatory framework on immigration.
Trump, the official said, has used the H-1 visa class as an example to say Americans are being pushed out work by foreign labor, which, if taken away from the CNMI, whose access to labor is limited, is “very concerning to a lot of people here.”
To add to that, Trump’s March 9 column was “incredibly insulting as a Republican in the CNMI,” the official said.
“It’s upsetting,” the official said, “because it’s basically plagiarism, using someone else’s ideas as your own.”
“If Trump doesn’t have a policy then that’s the problem. But if he is just going to use” someone else’s, “to me that means he hasn’t given the territories a second thought” and has succumbed “to using [someone] else’s ideas.”
Osborne, in a phone call last week, explained that when the Carson campaign ended, several of the remaining campaigns reached out, except for Sen. Ted Cruz’s, and “asked if I would help give them some advice for the territories.”
Osborne said he shared the op-ed they had recently submitted for Carson and they put the statement into their “own words.”
“Trump sees everything. If there is anything that he puts his name to, he wants to see” it,” Osborne said, who also said Trump advisor for the territories, Alan Cobb, was one of the few along with himself who had been out to all the U.S. territories, including CNMI.
“Presidential campaigns get a ton of requests for things. It takes a long time to get anything done in terms of putting something out… but this is something [Trump] looked at immediately,” said Osborne.
“The idea that territories are ignored, I don’t think anyone can say they are not,” Osborne said.
“The idea that the territories put more of their per capita, their children into the Armed Services than anyone else, that’s not something new. So I don’t know how many ways you can say that,” he added.
“In terms of influence I having been in the process, my job as executive director is to make sure that everybody in the GOP is aware of what’s going on in the presidential race and how it affects them,” Osborne said in the interview last week, explaining that party officials were well aware of his work with Carson also.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres endorsed Trump for President on Saturday.
Follows is a look at similar excerpts from Carson’s and Trump’s op-eds:
“Year after year, you send more of your sons and daughters per capita into the U.S. Armed Services than any of the 50 states,” said Carson, in his Feb. 26 column. “I stand in awe of this commitment and thank you for your service to our country. All of the territories and commonwealths, especially those in the Pacific, are vitally important to our national security, due to your positions as our first line of defense against potential encroachment by foreign powers.
“Year after year, these citizens quietly, without fanfare, send more of their sons and daughters per capita into the U.S. armed services than any of the 50 states,” said Trump in his March 9 column. “All Americans should stand in awe of this commitment to the service of our nation. Geographically, the territories and commonwealths, especially those in the Pacific, are vitally important to our national security as the outer most line of defense against potential encroachment by foreign powers.”
Carson’s policy call to implement appoint a Territory and Commonwealth Advisory Committee or TCAC consisting of representatives from American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was also echoed in Trump’s piece.
“The TCAC will be integrated into my presidential transition team, and be tasked with performing a holistic review of all federal regulations affecting the territories and commonwealths. Once sworn into office, I will appoint a special assistant to the president responsible for day-to-day interaction with the territories and commonwealths. This position would be the direct connection for the Office of Insular Affairs and the citizens of the territories and commonwealths,” said Carson.
“If I am honored to earn the votes of the people of the United States, territories and commonwealths during the presidential primary process and am elected to serve, I will restore equality and fairness to all citizens, especially those that have been ignored for too long,” Trump said. “As part of my administration, I will appoint a Territory and Commonwealth Advisory Committee, or TCAC, consisting of representatives from American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The TCAC will be integrated into my presidential transition team, and be tasked with performing a holistic review of all federal regulations affecting the territories and commonwealths.”
GOP caucus today
Meantime, ahead of the GOP caucus today, the Cruz campaign has released the statement to drum up local support:
“In the Pacific Century, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands occupies a vital place. Your islands are of greater significance than ever as the world pivots to the Pacific and the United States confronts major security and economic challenges in Asia, including missile defense, trade, and freedom of the seas. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is of great strategic importance to the United States, and under a Cruz administration, we will recognize and honor that fact. And my administration will work closely with the CNMI government on issues that directly affect your future.
“I will also take on the issues that not only matter to Americans in the 50 states, but that matter to you as well—uncontrolled immigration, overregulation, and in particular the jobless economic stagnation, and national decline that Obama/Clinton policies have imposed on the country. I have put forward specific plans to restore jobs and growth, to rip up Obamacare, and end skyrocketing health care premiums while providing greater choice and abundance of care to all Americans, including our veterans, who have been greatly shortchanged in their health care. Most recently, I have put forward a plan to rebuild America’s military, which features a major expansion in active duty military personnel, in all four Services—Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.
“I am committed to relieving all Americans, including the people of the Northern Marianas, from excessive burdens imposed by federal agencies, including unfunded mandates, which strangle businesses and job creation.
“Even since the people of Texas elected me, my record has been marked by one overriding feature: I have done what I said I would do. These plans will not be forgotten once the campaign is over and government begins. I ask for your vote in the Presidential Caucus and look forward to working with you to ensure not only the prosperity of your islands but of our common United States,” Cruz said.
The CNMI GOP caucus starts at 6pm and ends at 8 pm at the Minachom Atdao Pavilion on Saipan, the Rita Manglona Residence, San Jose Village on Tinian, and the Rota Roundhouse on Rota.