What, me worry?
Facing harsh public judgments, Walz vigorously avoids talk about public safety.
Increasing crime rates and a growing sense of lawlessness are the biggest challenges facing our state, but Gov. Tim Walz is doing everything in his power to ignore, deflect and change the subject. He has good reason to, judging by the Thinking Minnesota Poll con- ducted June 2-6, 2021. Fifty-five percent of poll respondents do not approve of Walz’s response to riotous behavior, with only 39 percent approving. This is a complete reversal from the June 2020 Thinking Minnesota Poll where 59 percent approved of Walz’s handling of last summer’s riots.
Interviewed on WCCO television on July 11 — the last time he was even asked about gun violence — Walz downplayed both the issue of rising crime and the state’s ability to do anything about it. He got some help from reporter Esme Murphy framing the issue:
Walz: It’s happening everywhere, and we need to find answers.
Murphy: It is clearly happening everywhere, but let me ask you: Can the governor really do anything about this, can the state really do anything about this? Because that’s what people are calling on you to do.
Walz: The state can be partners in this, they absolutely can. The state’s role, we have the State Patrol that’s our predominant, on the trunk highway system. But we can help with BCA, we can help with information, and we’re using Federal relief dollars to pump money in, we put $15 million to public safety on the front end…. …But that’s not the long-term fix. The long-term fix is working in partnership with these local communities, supporting local police, supporting local intervenors that are out there on the street and then we have to go back upstream — why do we have so many kids with guns in their hands instead of doing things we want them to do? So the state can help assist.
Walz’s public statements illustrate no leadership for the most important issue facing the state.
Walz produced 293 press releases from January 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021. A plurality of them (128) had to do with the COVID-19 pandemic, a topic he’s very comfortable talking about. Of the remaining 165 press releases, only 13 had anything to do with crime, with none mentioning the increase in violence in Minneapolis:
- Authorization of National Guard Assistance during Floyd officer trials
- Curfew implementation over
- Daunte Wright
- Request of state troopers from surrounding states prior to verdict
- Statement on Chauvin Verdict
- Statement concerning DOJ investigation of MPD
- Call for Moment of Silence for Daunte Wright
- Letter calling for police reform
- POST board takes steps to increase
- Bill signed for funds for public safety costs after Daunte Wright incident
- Urging for police reform
- Moment of silence for George Floyd
- Executive Action on Police Reform and Community Safety, including $15 million for “violence prevention grants”
- Flags at half-staff for fallen officer, Red Lake Nation
It’s the same story with Walz’s Twitter profile. Walz authored 683 tweets since the beginning of the year, and 47% are about COVID. Five tweets — less than one percent — even mention the rise in crime throughout the Metro area.
To be fair, Walz does address crime in other states. The January 6 riots, mass shootings (around the country and in Buffalo, MN) and Asian hate each received multiple grave acknowledgements. Protecting the media from getting hurt during rioting has also been a top concern for Gov. Walz, reflected in his official Twitter account. So, if you’re Asian, a journalist, live in the exurbs or even another state, Gov. Walz is very concerned about your safety.
A whopping 81 percent of Minnesotans are concerned about crime, according to the most recent Thinking Minn sota Poll. Eighty percent believe crime has gotten worse in Minnesota. Judging by Walz’s official public statements, his priorities are out of touch with the people he represents.