Minnesota conservatives’ response to the coronavirus is a mess. And it puts Minnesotans’ health and safety at risk.
Let’s start with the Chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, Jennifer Carnahan. On April 3, she tweeted that “Democrats have turned Coronavirus into an excuse for extreme communist control,” following the city of Minneapolis’s decision to close public beaches to protect public health. Then, she sent an email slamming efforts to make voting safer during the pandemic. As our elected officials are working around the clock during this crisis to put the health and safety of Minnesotans first, the last thing we need is the Republican party leader spreading inaccurate information that does nothing but stoke fear and division.
Then we have conservative Senators Scott Jensen and Jim Abeler who have been pushing irresponsible conspiracy theories about coronavirus deaths. Their arguments have been met with strong disagreement from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a leader of the federal COVID-19 response team, as well state health officials in Minnesota.
And that’s not all. Shortly after Governor Tim Walz extended his stay-at-home order, conservative Rep. Mary Franson tweeted “I’m not staying home.” And it was recently discovered that she created a “COVID Memes” Facebook page filled with divisive, misleading posts and inaccurate information. Furthermore, Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka tweeted that he doesn’t approve of Gov. Walz’s stay-at-home extension, despite the fact that Minnesota public health officials, doctors, experts, and economists all agree that we need to continue to stay and home and practice social distancing.
As we work together to get through this crisis, what we need is steady leadership and to listen to the experts, not conservative officials pushing fear, division, and irresponsible ideas that put our health and safety at risk.