Publish date:

While Minnesota GOPers hail Trump's arrival, Erik Paulsen keeps his distance

He's facing a huge battle to hold onto his 3rd Congressional District.

There is one Republican notably absent on Wednesday as President Trump arrives in Minnesota, 3rd District Rep. Erik Paulsen.

While his congressional colleagues, Reps. Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis, will join Trump at a round-table ahead of his rally in Duluth this evening, Paulsen is in Washington D.C.

With Paulsen facing a significant challenge to his 3rd District seat from DFLer Dean Phillips this November, his absence is the latest sign that he's attempting to distance himself from the president.

At the end of May, Paulsen held three town halls in which he opposed Trump's policies on immigration, felt the Russian interference in election meddling wasn't being taken seriously enough, and backed special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into said interference.

This follows increasing pressure at the grassroots level from constituents in the 3rd District demanding he take a stand against some of the president's most controversial policies.

Follow: Get the latest stories from Bring Me The News on Flipboard.

Not least of these, and certainly the most present of them, is the policy separating immigrant children from their parents after crossing the border illegally, a measure apparently taken by the Trump Administration to force Democrats to agree to new immigration measures, including the funding of the border wall.

Paulsen has recently stated his opposition to the policy, tweeting on Sunday that "Children shouldn't be used as leverage."

He went further on the day Trump lands in Minnesota, describing the policy as "unconscionable" and cited it as the reason why he's in D.C. today, not Duluth.

Hours after this tweet, Trump signed an executive order ending his child separation policy.

Also not in attendance is gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty, who is sending his running mate Michelle Fischbach instead. His GOP opponent Jeff Johnson will be there however.

While Pawlenty was heavily critical of Trump during his candidacy, he's struck a kinder tone towards his since announcing his run for governor, and posted this message to his Twitter followers on Wednesday.

Emmer meanwhile, whose 6th District is typically a Republican stronghold, was more sympathetic to the president's choices, telling WCCO Radio he agrees with him that the fix to the immigration controversy needs to come from Congress.

"Our civil society is based on a rule of law," he said. "We have a legislative process, if it doesn't work, which our immigration system is sadly broken, it needs to be fixed. And it's got to be done for the longterm and that has to happen through the legislative process."

He also told the Pioneer Press while he doesn't want to see what's happening happen, the U.S. has a responsibility to make sure the parents are who they say they are, and are not "human traffickers or drug dealers."

Lewis has been a long-time supporter of Trump, and continues to back him even though his 2nd District is known to swing between blue and red.

Also speaking to the Pioneer Press regarding the child separation policy, he said "no one wants to see families needlessly separated," but agreed with the president's stance that a fix at the border should form part of wider changes to the immigration system.

Among the most enthusiastic about Trump's visit is Pete Stauber, who is running on the GOP ticket in the tightly-contested 8th Congressional District this November, and will also be attending the pre-rally round-table with the president. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-10-15 at 10.01.55 PM

Police still searching for suspect who opened fire at Plymouth movie theater

It sparked a partial evacuation of the Emagine Willow Creek theater.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, October 18

Hospitalizations have surpassed 1,000 in the latest update.

Gully Boys van stolen Twitter pic 1

Mpls. band Gully Boys' van stolen, with all their gear inside

They're asking Twin Cities residents to be on the lookout for the silver van.

ATV, all-terrain vehicle

2 girls from St. Cloud injured in ATV crash

Neither girl was wearing a helmet, the sheriff's office said.

Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins has turned into a late-game killer for the Vikings

Cousins has given the Vikings a chance to tie or win the game 7 times in 6 games.

john oliver

Watch: The absurd ad 'Last Week Tonight' wrote for a MN car dealership

Host John Oliver described the commercial as a "tense domestic psychodrama."

Car driving

Minnesota is on track for the most road deaths since 2007

Minnesota has recorded 384 traffic deaths as of Oct. 14.


1 dead, 1 airlifted following Goodhue County crash

The crash happened around 6:15 a.m. Sunday.

railroad crossing, train crossing

Woman found dead on train tracks in Moorhead

The woman was located by officials on train tracks near Memorial Park Sunday morning.

police tape, crime scene

Search for killer after man is fatally shot in Hopkins

The shooting was reported around 7:40 p.m. Sunday.


President Trump endorses Erik Paulsen, but Paulsen's not happy

The 3rd District Representative has been trying to distance himself from the president.

What Donald Trump said about Minnesota during his rally

The president spoke to a packed house at the Amsoil Arena in Duluth.

Paulsen: Trump's Putin performance 'embarrassing' and 'dangerous'

The Republican congressman was highly critical of the president's press conference.

What happened at Rep. Erik Paulsen's town halls?

The 3rd District Congressman has been criticized for not meeting constituents in a town hall setting.

President Trump says 'too bad' to election loser Erik Paulsen

Trump also praised Pete Stauber for winning the Minnesota 8th.

Bigfoot stars in Dean Phillips' attack ad against Erik Paulsen

The ad was released on Tuesday morning, and is already getting national attention.