Skip to main content

A six-month-old video of GOP gubernatorial candidate Dr. Scott Jensen, in which he appears to smile and joke about getting "help from Mr. Putin," is drawing renewed attention from opponents.

The clip, highlighted on March 3 by former Minnesota Republican Party Deputy Chair Michael Brodkorb, is from September of 2021, months before Russia invaded Ukraine. In it, Jensen explains to the crowd that he was "on the Moscow news" one day.

(It's unclear which Russian news station Jensen is referencing, though many of the most prominent networks — such as RT, Russia-1 and First Channel — are controlled by the Russian government.)

Jensen says the segment was about how "in America, they're so afraid of the truth that a doctor who tells the truth gets in trouble." 

Continues Jensen, speaking energetically: "I never really expected any help from Mr. Putin, but I'm getting it."

The line draws laughs from the crowd as Jensen shifts to explain that this was a sign his "life was changing."

Jensen says he was under investigation in 2020 by the state medical board for spreading COVID misinformation, which came after he compared the virus to the flu, and suggested Minnesota's COVID death numbers were being exaggerated.

Brodkorb – a critic of Jensen's – called the candidate's apparent enthusiasm for support from Russian-owned state television "appalling." And the next day one of Jensen's key opponents, Sen. Michelle Benson, also issued sharp criticism.

"Any one who remembers history knows that a KGB-trained power-hungry leader is nothing to joke about," Benson tweeted. "Scott Jensen's attempt to seek applause from praise by Vladimir Putin is another disappointing example of his bad judgment."

As of Monday morning, none of the other leading gubernatorial candidates seeking the GOP endorsement had commented on the matter via social media or in a news release.

Jensen has countered the criticism from Benson, calling her comment "shameful and disgraceful," and accusing her of getting "in the mud with baseless smears and far-left talking points." In a statement (shared by Seth Kaplan of FOX 9) he also called it "ridiculous" to suggest he praised Putin, and said his words were "no endorsement of Putin, passively or otherwise, and he in no way endorsed me."

The Democratic Governors Association, a political organization that supports current Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, also highlighted Jensen's comments, saying his refusal to apologize and subsequent jab at Benson are evidence the GOP field is divided. 

State Sen. Matt Klein, DFL-Mendota Heights, also shared video of Jensen's comments, calling the candidate's positions on COVID "dangerous and unscientific." He also said it is evidence Russia has "weaponized" COVID misinformation (which has been reported on and verified since the early days of the ongoing pandemic).

Jensen, a self-described COVID "skeptic," has routinely cast doubt on the effectiveness of COVID vaccines, has touted unproven treatments for COVID such as ivermectin, called for civil disobedience in response to COVID vaccine and testing rules, and doesn't appear to believe the widely proven results of the 2020 election.

He won the statewide Republican straw poll for governor, though the results have since come under question for discrepancies

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-06-29 at 12.22.08 PM

Man shot inside Oakdale movie theater expected to survive

The 23-year-old victim underwent surgery and is recovering at the hospital.

monkeypox

Minnesota confirms second case of monkeypox virus

More cases are expected in the coming days and weeks, the health department says.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, June 29

One of the newly reported deaths was a person aged 15-19 from Yellow Medicine County.

Screen Shot 2022-06-29 at 10.19.37 AM

Drone drops bag of candy near kids fishing

A black SUV quickly left the area afterwards.

FLickr - AL Franken 2016 - Lorie Shaull

Al Franken to bring comedy tour to Minneapolis

Acme Comedy is hosting the former senator in late August.

Alabama

Alabama replaces Toby Keith as headliner at MN music festival

The Lakefront Music Festival is set to take place in Prior Lake on July 8-9.

16362 County Rd 81, Maple Grove, Minnesota - October 2021 (4)

2-year-old who died in Maple Grove crash identified

The crash happened last Thursday on County Road 81 in Maple Grove.

Image from iOS

Shooting inside Oakdale movie theater: Suspect on the run

A 23-year-old was shot while inside theater 17 around 10 p.m.

Gov. Tim Walz and Scott Jensen.

Walz, Jensen clash over 'extreme' abortion views

The two clashed over the topic on Tuesday, following the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 12.24.27 PM

Movie filming brings memorable day for MN teen with leukemia

Ayotzin Limon-Millard was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia last year.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 1.25.30 PM

Police trying to ID 'Playboy bandit' and 'no-pants raider' suspect

Police are calling the unidentified man "the Playboy bandit" and the "no-pants raider."

Related

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 9.29.03 AM

Dr. Scott Jensen wins GOP straw poll for governor

Jensen easily outpaced the other GOP candidates, though fell short of a majority.

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 9.29.03 AM

GOP candidate Scott Jensen calls for jailing of MN Secretary of State

Jensen is running for Minnesota governor against other GOP candidates.

joe biden oct 2020 - GPA PHoto Archive, Flickr

At GOP gubernatorial debate, all 5 candidates cast doubt on Biden's win

Each of the Republican hopefuls, without evidence, sowed doubt about the 2020 election.

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 9.29.03 AM

Jensen vows medical board investigating him 'will be dealt with'

Jensen says the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice is investigating him for the fifth time.

rich stanek governor video screengrab

Former Hennepin Sheriff announces run for governor

In his announcement, Stanek touts his lengthy law enforcement credentials.

Don_Samuels campaign announcement

Don Samuels deletes tweet making light of child's drowning

The former council member and current Congressional candidate apologized for his remarks.

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 9.29.03 AM

Former state senator Scott Jensen endorsed by GOP for governor

Jensen beat to multiple other hopefuls for the endorsement at Saturday's convention.