Steve Wenzel: Tim Walz’s biggest mistake as governor

A lifelong Democrat discusses Gov. Tim Walz's biggest mistake as governor.

This photo shows a building along Lake Street that was completely destroyed during the George Floyd riots. (Fibonacci Blue/Flickr)

The Star Tribune’s Oct. 24 article on Gov. Tim Walz’s re-election efforts failed to cite or mention any reference to Walz’s most glaring failure as governor: his refusal to exercise his powers as Commander-in-Chief of the Minnesota National Guard to call them out immediately following the tragic death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Walz’s failure to do so days earlier than he did resulted in the destruction of the Third Precinct police building in Minneapolis along with 1,000 or more businesses destroyed or damaged by arsonists and looters and a loss of almost $1 billion to Minneapolis business owners and taxpayers.

Star Tribune coverage of the events following the death of Floyd cited the urgent request made by Mayor Jacob Frey to Walz to use the National Guard to protect the city. Walz’s response to the mayor was to ask Frey to send him a letter citing the reasons why the Guard should be deployed. All that Walz needed to do was turn on his TV and he could have seen or understood what was happening in Minneapolis, our state’s largest city. I believe Walz failed to act because he did not want to offend Black Lives Matter and instead shaped his decision based on ideology and an adherence to “political correctness.”

It is important that any governor have the quality of having an intuitive understanding and grasp of the principle that the highest function of government, in a free and democratic society, is the protection and safety of its citizenry.

Walz’s failure on this fundamental issue alone is reason to not reward him with re-election as governor in 2022. Truly it can be said that in 2020, Walz fiddled while Minneapolis burned.


Steve Wenzel

Steve Wenzel is a former state representative from Little Falls who served in the Minnesota House for nearly 30 years as a Democrat.