From riots to food fraud, Walz’s political lens fails him again

In two of the biggest moments of his governorship, Gov. Tim Walz allowed political calculations to cloud his thinking, resulting in terrible outcomes for the Minnesota families who rely on his leadership.

In 2020, he froze for two days before calling out the National Guard to quell the riots that saw small businesses, grocery stores, and affordable housing developments go up in flames. In 2021, Walz and his appointees at the Minnesota Department of education failed to stop the massive, $250 million embezzlement of funds that were supposed to feed hungry children. Both decisions involved standing up to an important political constituency or voting bloc for Walz and the Democrats, and both times his decision not to act harmed the entire state.

As we’ve written before, Gov. Walz got stuck in an ideological and philosophical discussion about whether the use of force was the appropriate response to George Floyd’s death, and whether more force would exacerbate the problem “in the community.” In truth, it was too late for that discussion and Walz needed to call in the National Guard fully two days earlier than he did to stop the unrest and end the rioting.

Walz was concerned that liberals, Black Lives Matter supporters and those screaming “Defund the Police” would react negatively to a National Guard call-up to stop the rioting. You can see the pain in his face as he said the same thing eight different times in one press conference on May 29, 2020.

“I want to be very clear and speak to that community the very tools that we need to use to get control to make sure that buildings aren’t burned and the rule of law collapses are those very institutional tools that have led to that grief and pain.”

“I want to just call out very, very clearly as we put a presence on the street to restore order it is to open that space to seek justice and heal what happened I will not in any way not acknowledge that there’s going to be that pain but my first and foremost responsibility to the state of Minnesota is the safety and security of all citizens – we cannot have the looting and the recklessness that went on…”

“I also want to think about what happens when we don’t have that. People who are concerned about that police presence of an overly armed camp in their neighborhoods that is not seen in communities where children of people who look like me run to the police, others have to run from.”

“And it does not escape me that we are here on the catalyst that lit this spark by what happened with the police detainment of George Floyd and the idea that a reporter would have been taken while another police action was in play is inexcusable… This is about having an aggressive approach to understanding what the community needs but not coming in heavy-handed with them, but to create space with a story can be told in a situation like this even if you’re clearing an area we have got to ensure that there is a safe spot for journalism to tell the story.”

“And I want to just be clear there’s philosophically an argument to be made that an armed presence on the ground in the midst of where we just had a police killing is seen as a catalyst.”

“There was a decision during the day whether, did you occupy the entire city and shut it down after those 24 hours? In retrospect I’m assuming that yes we would say that. But at the time and again we will not know it just proving the negative, would it have simply started that movement faster and would we have seen it moved out of the 3rd Precinct.”

“You can’t have civil order deteriorate, and then you have to make a calculated decision about the force going in there – Does it escalate it? Does it stop it? Does it endanger civilians and the force going in there?”

“I want to come back to that again, the more of those things you use, the more those are viewed as the oppressive things that lead to much of this in the first place.”

Governor Walz was stuck. He knew he had to put down the riots, but he also knew it would upset an important constituency. The state (and nation) is still suffering from the snowball of lawlessness that occurred after rioters here and elsewhere realized they could burn down a police precinct without consequences.

This political weakness was not lost on the fraudsters at Feeding Our Future. Once Walz’s Department of Education started asking questions and stopped payments, they went right for his Achilles’ heel. They filed a discrimination lawsuit in Ramsey County Court arguing Walz was mistreating another important political constituency, Somalis.  Then they took their message against the Walz administration to the press. Feeding Our Future CEO Aimee Bock told the Sahan Journal in May 2021 article, “The Department of Education has really launched an attack on the community as a whole regarding this food program.” Ouch. Team Walz probably spent hours in Zoom meetings trying to figure out what to do next.

Bock continued her calculated attack on the Walz administration in February 2022, telling the Sahan Journal, “And my conclusion is, the reason why they didn’t care about the impact of that decision, is because the centers are run by immigrants and the beneficiaries of the food are also immigrants and poor people. That’s my opinion.”

Bock knew making the fraud about an important political constituency to Walz and the Democrats would prevent them from doing the right thing. Just look at all the DFL political contributions that are linked to the players in the Feeding Our Future fraud.

Ultimately, Walz froze again, allowed the fraudulent payments to continue and then tried to blame it on a Ramsey County Judge when it blew up in his face.