MN Sen. Scott Jensen under fire for golfing during Zoom hearing

He's been accused of "fueling conspiracy theories" about the COVID death toll.

A Minnesota doctor and state senator who's been in the spotlight over his controversial views about the coronavirus is now facing criticism from his colleagues. 

But it's not necessarily for questioning the COVID-19 death toll (as he did on Fox News this week); it's for hitting the links during a Senate hearing. 

On Friday, a video of a Health and Human Services Finance Committee hearing — which took place via Zoom teleconference — appeared on Twitter.

It shows Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), who is the committee's vice chair, on a golf course, apparently using a golf cart while addressing his fellow senators:

It was shared by Sen. Melissa Franzen (D-Edina), who confirmed the footage as authentic, saying she "witnessed this myself in real time."

The DFL itself issued a press release on the situation, noting that at one point during the hearing, "Jensen’s golf cart gets so loud that it disrupts the meeting and folks are asked to mute microphones."

(You can watch the hearing in full right here.)

The hearing in question was dedicated to an amendment that would allow "telemedicine providers to prescribe medication for those with substance use disorder" during the coronavirus pandemic, a discussion which, the DFL argues, "Jensen couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to."

"Senator Jensen owes an apology to the people of Minnesota for golfing while a committee he’s on considered ways to help Minnesotans with substance use disorder continue treatment during this pandemic," DFL Chair Ken Martin said in the release. 

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Jensen's "absurd golf outing" as well as his public comments about the coronavirus "make it clear that he’s unwilling to take this global pandemic seriously," Martin added.

When asked about his decision to golf during the meeting, Jensen told the Star Tribune he was "fully engaged" and paying attention during the meeting, saying he was "enjoying the weather," and suggested it was no different from those babysitting or cooking during Zoom meetings.

Jensen, who's not seeking reelection and is reportedly considering a run for governor, isn't the only elected official in Minnesota to take an apparently lax approach to Zoom meetings, with North Oaks city council member Martin Long last month attending a council meeting from his hot tub. 

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