Despite sustaining an Achilles injury, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is determined to partake in the upcoming Republican presidential primary debate on Wednesday evening. The 2024 presidential candidate announced his commitment on social media, sharing a photo of himself using crutches.
Burgum, who is 67 years old, suffered a significant Achilles tendon tear while engaged in a pick-up basketball game with his staff on Tuesday. CNN had initially reported this injury earlier in the day. Following an assessment of the debate venue while utilizing crutches, the governor was examined by a sports physician and injury specialist in Milwaukee. This evaluation confirmed the injury, and further tests have been scheduled for Thursday.
In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash in Milwaukee, Burgum shared, “I think the silver lining here is that tonight isn’t a dance competition. If this were ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ I would have to withdraw. However, it’s a debate. We’ll be standing at podiums for two hours, and I might just need to summon my resolve and power through it.”
He clarified that he is not relying on prescription pain medications for his injury management. According to a reliable source, fellow candidates have privately extended their concerns for his well-being. Republican Senator Tim Scott and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy expressed their good wishes for the governor on social media.
Burgum is among the eight candidates slated for the debate. The event is scheduled to be broadcast on Fox News at 9 p.m. ET. The GOP governor, previously a prosperous software executive, acknowledges his status as the least recognizable contender on the debate platform. He stated during a Sunday interview on NBC that his objective in the debate is to effectively convey his identity, objectives, and motivations for his presidential bid.
Having met the Republican National Committee’s prerequisites of garnering 40,000 distinct donors and fulfilling polling criteria, Burgum secured his spot on the debate stage. His approach of offering $20 gift cards in exchange for $1 donations helped attract donors. Additionally, he pledged to support the eventual Republican presidential nominee, as mandated by the RNC to qualify for participation in the Wednesday night debate.