Walz on 2020 riots: ‘I’m proud of Minnesota’s response’

"He unleashed a poisonous spread of lawlessness. Arguably he is the godfather of the crime epidemic that has swept our country," Jensen said during Tuesday night's debate.

Dr. Scott Jensen and Gov. Tim Walz participate in a debate Tuesday night. (KTTC/YouTube)

Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and Republican opponent Dr. Scott Jensen faced off for their second debate Tuesday night.

The debate, which was only available online for most Minnesotans, was hosted by Gray Television in the Rochester, Duluth, Mankato, and Fargo markets.

Walz only agreed to a TV debate without an audience outside of the Twin Cities market.

Walz and Jensen butted heads on the governor’s response to a number of crises, like the 2020 George Floyd riots and the Feeding Our Future scandal.

While Minnesotans are feeling the effects of the increase in costs for everyday goods due to inflation, the state holds a $9 billion surplus.

Walz on this said, “We’re proud of our progressive taxation system and our fairness in taxes. And we make sure those who are doing well pay their fair share.”

“You get what you pay for in Minnesota,” he went on.

“Well, if you get what you pay for in Minnesota, I guess Gov. Walz didn’t pay very much for the police because we’ve got a lawlessness like we’ve never seen before,” Jensen fired back.

When asked about the response to the 2020 riots, Walz stated, “I’m proud of Minnesota’s response.”

“There have been several occasions from Derek Chauvin’s trial to the murder of Daunte Wright where the potential for this to happen again was there [but] it did not because of the lessons learned,” Walz continued, falsely accusing Kim Potter of murder.

“This isn’t a one-off situation,” Jensen replied. “He didn’t stand with the cops. He told them to stand down.”

“Anything that has to do with lawful behavior it seems that Tim Walz isn’t there, and yet he says I’m proud of how Minnesota responded,” Jensen added.

Another key moment came when the candidates discussed school safety. Walz said he wants to reduce “easy” access to firearms and used a mass shooting at Seventh Street Truck Park in St. Paul to make his point.

“A shooting at the Truck Park restaurant in St. Paul, the person who ended up with two of the guns there got them through a straw buyer who bought 90 of them,” Walz said.

According to an affidavit, one of the handguns used in the shooting was straw-purchased by Jerome Fletcher Horton, who purchased 33 firearms between June 15, 2021, and October 17, 2021.

Jensen, on the other hand, highlighted recent violence at high school football games.

“We’re seeing kids, teachers, parents … victimized at football games every Friday night. This is a product of lawlessness that swept over our state, and it started with Tim Walz delaying in May and June of 2020,” Jensen said. “He unleashed a poisonous spread of lawlessness. Arguably he is the godfather of the crime epidemic that has swept our country.”

On specific solutions for school safety, Jensen said he wants to partner with experts in law enforcement and empower them to do their jobs.

“We need to respect what police do. It isn’t going to help us when we see the governor get behind Ilhan Omar when she comes out and says the police are a cancer and need to be dismantled and defunded,” he said.

Jensen hammered Walz for repeatedly changing his story about the Feeding Our Future scandal.

“According to state law, he has a responsibility to notify the Office of the Legislative Auditor, and he never did that,” Jensen said. “What did Gov. Walz know and when did he know it?”

Walz said that the Minnesota Department of Education alerted the FBI once they detected the fraud. MDE didn’t contact the FBI until April 2021, nearly a year after it identified the fraud.

“It’s an ongoing investigation. I guess we’ll get more clarity once they start to come to that,” Walz added. “I think one of the things that’s important here and I will note: to our hundreds of school districts and our hundreds of honest providers, you provided food to children at a critical time in the pandemic.”

The final debate is scheduled for Oct. 28 on Minnesota Public Radio.



Alexander Henderson

Alexander Henderson is a freelance writer with a background in management and a degree in business finance.