Skip to main content

Minnesota DFL slams GOP for COVID-19 safety risks at campaign events

The party suggests Republicans are spreading COVID-19.
Minnesota GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan, White House senior advisor Katrina Pierson, and 7th District candidate Michelle Fischbach.

Minnesota GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan, White House senior advisor Katrina Pierson, and 7th District candidate Michelle Fischbach.

Minnesota Democrats are slamming Republicans for their actions on the campaign trail, accusing the GOP of putting people at risk of COVID-19 because they're ignoring safety precautions, calling their actions "reckless and dangerous."

DFLers criticized Republicans for holding in-person, indoor campaign events where the majority of people are not wearing masks and are standing close together in crowds. Meanwhile, Democrats are mostly campaigning via remote, online events

“The plain truth here is that Minnesota Republicans and the Trump campaign are putting people’s lives at risk to win political campaigns,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said during a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday.

"The Minnesota Republican Party’s unsafe events could be spreading COVID-19 across our state, landing people in the hospital, and even killing them. If Minnesota Republican events have not caused serious harm, it is only because their fellow Minnesotans are taking this threat seriously and making the sacrifices necessary to save lives."

Martin mentioned the statewide Women for Trump bus tour that made stops in several cities across the state Aug. 18-19, criticizing GOP Party Chair Jennifer Carnahan specifically for being among the maskless people at the event and for not social distancing. 

Other attendees at indoor events where there's a lack of social distancing and face masks aren't being worn by all in attendance include Senate candidate Jason Lewis, 2nd District candidate Tyler Kistner, and 7th District candidate Michelle Fischbach.

“This is the perfect storm of everything people shouldn't do: going from place to place with no knowledge of whether or not you're sick and meeting with people,” Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during President Obama's presidency, said.

He added. “To me, people's lives are more important to people's votes. I think I would ask that of your elected representatives in your candidates: is my life more important than putting you in office? And is your behavior at suggesting that? So I just would say to anybody who doesn't hold that value: it's not too late to change because people are going to live or die by your decisions.”

Follow Bring Me The News on YouTube

Advice for campaign events, Republican response

The CDC, the Minnesota Department of Health and other health officials recommend people wear face masks when out in public – especially whenever physical distancing can be difficult to maintain. Minnesota also has a statewide mask mandate in place that requires face masks be worn in indoor public spaces.

"Wearing a mask is important. I think social distancing is important and I would also prioritize outdoor events. I think if you're able to do all three of those things: masks, social distancing, and outdoors, I think that's relatively safe and I would feel comfortable in that situation for someone who is not older or someone without underlying health conditions," Dr. Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist and associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, said during Wednesday's news conference.

Following the DFL's news conference, the state Republican Party held its own news conference. The Pioneer Press said Chairwomen Carnahan changed the subject, saying Democrats failed to prevent the riots and looting in Minnesota and across the nation this summer.

Carnahan did says that the party provides masks and encourages social distancing at its events, but doesn't require them, adding: "It’s an individual issue, not a partisan issue."

"But indoors, maskless, close-quarters, those are all recipes for transmission" 

While cases have been trending upwards again since Minnesota's face mask mandate went into effect on July 25, they have not been rising at the rate seen in some neighboring states without mask mandates, namely Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

There has also been concern raised by, among others, White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Deborah Birx, that people in rural areas of Minnesota are not following COVID-19 safety guidelines including social distancing as well as those in cities.

This is borne out by recent case spikes in areas of Minnesota outside of Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

BMTN has reached out to the state Republican Party for further comment. 

Next Up

Tyler Wahl

Minnesotans have the Badgers back in the national spotlight

Three of Wisconsin's four leading scorers are from Minnesota.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano retires: Remembering his meteoric rise as a rookie

There was no one better than Liriano from mid-May to late-July in 2006.

kimmel morari screengrab collage

Watch: Jimmy Kimmel mocks men's sex aid made by MN company

"This is an app I won't be [down]loading," Kimmel said.

Screen Shot 2022-01-17 at 8.58.56 AM

Man hospitalized after snowmobile crash in Stearns County

The crash occurred east of State Highway 238 in Albany Township.


Indicators of COVID in wastewater skyrocketing in Twin Cities

Wastewater detection can serve as a predictor for rising and falling case levels.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Girl arrested for allegedly shooting her mother in northern MN

The incident occurred in Morcom Township Sunday afternoon.

voyageurs trail camera

Video: Voyageurs camera captures remarkable footage of wildlife trail

There were wolves, moose, bears, lynx, a fisher, marten and other animals.


State Capitol.

'Disgusting': DFL senators say GOP failed to disclose COVID-19 outbreak

Dems say "NO ONE in the DFL nor non-partisan staff was told."

Screen Shot 2020-07-26 at 7.36.36 AM

Minnesota GOP criticized over pictures of mask-less attendees at party event

Party leaders including Paul Gazelka and Kurt Daudt, and congressmen Pete Stauber and Jim Hagedorn were in attendance.

State Capitol.

After GOP filibusters, lawmakers have 9 days to pass budget bills

If the Minnesota Legislature doesn't pass its budget bills by June 30, the government will shutdown on July 1.

sen. david senjem

Minnesota Sen. David Senjem tests positive for COVID-19

He tested positive on Sunday and is quarantining at home.

legalize weed sign crop

GOP links with legal weed candidates in spotlight again after FOX 9 investigation

A candidate says he was tricked into running by a Republican strategist, FOX 9 found.

face mask

Edina makes wearing a mask mandatory to slow spread of COVID-19

State department of health and the CDC recommend wearing face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Reps. Pete Stauber, Tom Emmer and Jim Hagedorn

DFL scorches GOP lawmakers for flying after COVID exposure

The congressmen were exposed to COVID-19 on Air Force One.

jennifer carnahan

Minnesota GOP cancels Monday event due to members self-quarantining

The event was a party update featuring chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan.