Updated: January 11, 2021 06:28 PM
Created: January 11, 2021 12:45 PM
Gov. Tim Walz denounced Minnesota Republican leaders for refusing to clearly say the presidential election was fair. It was part of a tense forum held virtually that was supposed to focus on what the governor and lawmakers hope to accomplish in the 2021 legislative session
The DFL governor also disclosed that Minnesota State Troopers had to take his14-year-old son to safety last Wednesday during a “Storm the Capitol” protest in St. Paul, which later shifted to the governor’s residence.
That rally coincided with the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The governor said threats made at the St. Paul rally "resulted for the first time in the State Patrol entering the living quarters and removing my 14-year old son to a safe location as he's crying looking for his dog."
The governor said he was also disappointed Republican leaders continue to question how the 2020 elections were conducted.
"I'm just going to weigh in and then I'm going to sign off because I too am incredibly disappointed in this conversation," the governor told lawmakers and members of the Minnesots Capitol Press Corps.
The two top Republicans in the Legislature, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, both agreed Joe Biden won. But they stopped short of rejecting claims that the election was unfair.
Gov. Tim Walz on the call is visibly angry and talking about threats against his own family. He says he's going to sign off from the call because he doesn't like the tone of the discussion.— Tom Hauser (@thauserkstp) January 11, 2021
House and Senate leaders also sparred over any comparisons between the riots in the Twin Cities last summer and the riot last week at the U.S. Capitol.
"If the violence now is wrong, the violence over the summer was wrong and we need to join together, which Republicans have denounced both, and we're going to continue to denounce both," Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt said.
"I think any peaceful protest we should allow," Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said. "If there's rhetoric that threatens violence in any way it should be condemned."
DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman denounced the U.S. Capitol riot and says a "Storm the Capitol" rally in St. Paul featured dangerous rhetoric.
"We're investigating whether there were members of the Minnesota House of Representatives who advocated or incited or supported acts of domestic terrorism," Hortman said, while also drawing a distinction between the Twin Cities riots last summer and the U.S. Capitol riot.
Ultimately, most of the legislative forum was consumed by discussion of riots and election rhetoric. Leaders recognize disagreements could make it difficult to reach compromise on the budget and the path forward on the governor's emergency powers.
"How do we find common ground when we have people that will not say the election is fair?," the governor asked.
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)