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Minnesota Leaders Call Out Trump's Divisive Policies as He Visits Minnesota


August 18, 2020

ST. PAUL - Ahead of President Trump’s Minnesota visit today, DFL Party leaders held a press call slamming Trump’s failed response to the coronavirus pandemic, his divisive rhetoric, and the harmful impacts of his policies on Minnesotans. Featured on the call were DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman, State Senator Nick Frentz, State Senate candidate Lindsey Port, John Steigauf of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and Gandhi Mahal restaurant owner Ruhel Islam. In addition, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan issued statements this morning in response to the President’s stop in Mankato.

Excerpts from the call

Attorney General Keith Ellison: “We are going to be the fairest, most just, most inclusive, most environmentally responsible state we can possibly be. That is what Minnesotsans are stepping up to demonstrate right now, and we’re going to demonstrate it with great vigor and passion as Donald Trump comes to Minnesota. As Donald Trump comes to Minnesota, he thinks he’s going to divide us. He won't. He’s going to unite us. He thinks he’s going to encourage people to believe that their neighbors are their biggest problem, as opposed to him. He thinks that he’s going to make sure he rallies people on their fears and on their lowest impulses, but what he’s really going to do is inspire us to assert the best of what we’re all about.”

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-4): “Our economy is totally tied in and wedded to what’s going on with COVID. This morning I was on a call with the Minnesota Hospital Association and we’re trying real hard in Minnesota to keep our numbers down and get COVID under control, but we still don’t have enough personal protective equipment for our frontline workers. We don’t have enough to really make sure our kids go back to school, and that ties into the economy and getting people back to work. This administration has been a total, absolute failure in addressing the needs of our country during a pandemic and it’s hurting our economy. Now they’re taking it one step farther, at a time when people are even more dependent on the mail, for voting because of COVID. We have the president of the United States pulling mailboxes out of communities, telling postal workers how many hours they can work to deliver the mail. This is unacceptable.”

Speaker Melissa Hortman (36B): “It’s no secret that Donald Trump’s failed leadership on COVID-19 has devastated our state, our nation, and our economy. While Democrats are taking this pandemic seriously and trying to safeguard the health and well-being of Minnesotans, Donald Trump has focused his energy on petty politics and division. Here in Minnesota, we care about each other and we want to see our neighbors succeed. Trump has done nothing to support our communities, he has done nothing to bring our communities together, and he has done nothing to build a better future for Minnesotans and Americans.”

State Senator Nick Frentz (District 19): “Many of you are familiar with the ethanol waivers granted by the Environmental Protection Agency. This has driven the price of corn down. Southern Minnesota is corn and soybean territory. This has directly hurt our farmers and directly broke a promise made to farmers by the Trump administration that they would be there for them. The trade policies of this administration have hurt the price of commodities. Do you know the difference between the 2016 prices for corn and soybeans and the current prices? I’ll give you a hint, they’re not higher, they’re lower now. That’s the result of the trade policies and our damaging trade war. Those things hurt working men and women across Southern Minnesota.”

State Senate Candidate Lindsey Port (District 56): “As a candidate, I’ve had thousands of conversations with voters. Over and over and over again I’ve heard that Minnesotans are looking for new leadership that actually addresses their fears and concerns, and values their stories in decision-making. I’ve heard from voters that the lack of leadership on the pandemic from the Trump administration has put Minnesotans in precarious positions where they’re having to choose between their physical health and their economic health, I’ve heard their fears about rollbacks of the ACA and cuts to Social Security funding. More than anything, I’m hearing Minnesotans who want leadership who value their lives and their voices in the conversation. It’s been crystal clear to us that President Trump doesn’t know us and he doesn’t care about our lives.”

Gandhi Mahal Restaurant owner Ruhel Islam: “Most of the president’s rallies are just opportunities for him to spew his divisive rhetoric, attack his political rivals, and distract Americans from the real issues. This president should understand by now that Minnesotans won’t fall for that. Residents of our state are concerned about the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 60,000 people in our state and left thousands of our neighbors out of work. Minnesotans are focused on healing and coming together to advance racial and economic justice. We deserve a president who will join with us, rather than one who comes to our state to further politicize the murder of George Floyd and try to pit us against one another. Given the challenges we face -- including COVID-19 and addressing systemic racism -- we need to hear unity from our leaders. I doubt we’ll hear that from President Trump. For that reason, maybe he should stay home and save taxpayers some money.”

John Steigauf of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers: “The president is coming here to take credit for jobs in the Mankato area, jobs all over the country. But if he’s going to take credit for that he’s also gotta take credit for all the other things he’s caused, and that’s the loss of jobs. In October of last year, just north of Mankato in St. Cloud, Electrolux company closed. Seven hundred fifty people, good manufacturing jobs, left. It devastated that entire community, a community that’s still trying to rebound. Since he’s took office, just this year alone we’re looking at about 302,000 jobs lost across the state of Minnesota.”

Statements from Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan

Governor Tim Walz: “When President Trump lands in Mankato today, two things will be top of mind for Minnesotans: his inability to confront the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 and the divisive rhetoric that has defined his presidency. Minnesotans value hard work, compassion, and human decency, and our state deserves a partner in Washington who will work with us to address the most pressing challenges facing communities throughout our state. Rather than further divide us and distract from the real issues facing the country, we need a President who can unite our country and build a better future for our families. That President is Joe Biden."

Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan: “The President’s campaign stop in Mankato today is simply meant to stoke fear and division, which should not come as a surprise to anyone who has watched this administration these last four years. The emphasis, both over and unspoken, has been to divide this country along the lines of race and class. These tropes only exacerbate the deep-rooted inequities that we know have existed in this country for far too long. We cannot afford to be further torn apart as a Nation. It’s time to heal, re-build, and unite. Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that he is not the individual for that job, but I know Joe Biden is ready to lead and I cannot wait to elect him in November.”


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