Speed Reads

call rejected

GOP senator unflinchingly defends officer who shot Ashli Babbitt in tense exchange with radio caller

Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer (N.D.) appeared to reject one of the GOP and former President Donald Trump's latest talking points — who shot Ashli Babbitt? — while making a radio appearance on The Jay Thomas Show on Tuesday, CNN's Andrew Kaczynski reports.

When asked by a caller if Cramer could be the one to "leak" the name of the officer who fatally wounded Capitol rioter Babbitt, the senator responded, "Why would I do that?" The caller continued to push back, claiming he has "the right to know" because he is a "citizen of the United States."

Cramer replied that not only is he himself unsure of the officer's identity, but he believes that information is unnecessary because Babbitt was a "criminal" violating officers' orders. "They're protecting people and the officer was found to be innocent of any wrongdoing. So then what would be the purpose of releasing that officer's name? What do you need to know the officer's name for?"

The North Dakota lawmaker went on to say that he doesn't "know what the law says about releasing someone's name," but the officer is "not a suspect of any crime" and "it seems to be kind of a textbook situation, frankly." "I'm just grateful for this person, quite honestly," he adds.

Listen to the tense exchange starting at the 1:12:40 mark below: