Left-wing activists called a press conference Monday to stand in support of Democratic Rep. John Thompson, who has resisted calls to resign amid allegations of domestic abuse.
Toshira Garraway with Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence said Thompson has been “unfairly alienated.”
Many allied activists who usually attend these types of press conferences did not speak at Monday’s gathering, including Nekima Levy-Armstrong, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Communities United Against Police Brutality, and the Minnesota Justice Coalition.
The executive director of CAIR, Jaylani Hussein, previously told Sahan Journal that his organization has “zero tolerance for sexual assaults and any misconduct” but described the backlash against Thompson as a “political lynching of some sort.”
“His wife, Lea, who stands here today, is hurting because she never felt harmed or hurt by John, but, in fact, it is the media that is harming her family. We want the accusations and the slander against John to end. We want him to continue to be a representative for the state of Minnesota,” Garraway said Monday.
Mrs. Thompson then addressed the media alongside her husband and three children.
“First I want to say that this man right here is everything to us,” she said, telling her husband that she has never been more proud of him.
She then told the media that they don’t have permission to print anything about her or her family.
“You do not get a relationship of 21 years without some issues,” she said. “Let me explain this to you. I am not now nor have I ever been an abused woman. I am not a victim of domestic abuse.”
“I’m not going to say that we didn’t have any issues, but we worked on those things,” she continued, saying she was angry with the media for portraying her as a victim.
“You guys forced me to have a conversation with my children about parents they didn’t even know existed. I had to introduce them to a life that they had no idea me and their dad ever had going on,” she said.
Mrs. Thompson said the allegations against her husband are false.
“He’s everything to us, he’s not any of those things that you guys are painting him out to be,” she said. “I have never been abused. He never has abused me.”
Some of the allegations against Thompson, however, reportedly involve a different woman or women.
“We’re not going to resign. What these people in this office is going to have to do is take team Thompson from his office kicking and screaming and holding onto the desk. We’re not resigning. We’re going to fight like we’ve never fought before,” Thompson’s wife concluded.
The press conference was then interrupted by a woman who drove onto the Capitol grounds with a Trump flag. The incident was immediately cast as an example of “white supremacy.”
According to Crime Watch Minneapolis, the woman was detained by Capitol police and a social worker spoke to her at length. She was transported from the scene in the back of an unmarked squad car.