Those in charge of securing the Minnesota Capitol and other public buildings are on edge in advance of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next week.
The FBI had earlier warned that extremist groups might target rallies here, although state Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Friday that FBI officials had told him there was no immediate threat to Minnesota.
Nevertheless, the U.S. District Court is closing Minnesota's federal court facilities from Sunday through Thursday, and the Minnesota History Center in downtown St. Paul will be closed Saturday and Sunday.
Growing public safety concerns since the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol should be drawing this state's leaders together, uniting them in common purpose against a common peril. And yet if a recent forum is any indication, deep divisions remain that may hinder those efforts.
While acknowledging Biden's win, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka continues to cling to a false narrative, saying at the recent forum that the election did not feel fair and that "there's nothing wrong with asking questions and probing about why things happened the way they did."
That is beyond disingenuous. As a leader and possible gubernatorial candidate, Gazelka should stop feeding misguided notions about the election results.
President Donald Trump had his day in court — many of them — and cases were dismissed left and right for lack of evidence. Trump's own Justice Department said there was no fraud. To persist in raising questions that have been answered and premises that have been debunked crosses a line into deliberate disinformation.
At the same forum, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said that he believed there was election fraud in what he said was a few people "here and there" voting when they shouldn't have. He did, at least, acknowledge it was not substantial enough to change the outcome, so there seems little reason to continue to cultivate doubts.
The leadership positions that Daudt and Gazelka hold come with an obligation to weigh their words carefully. It's not enough to decry the violence that occurred while amplifying the underlying threads that could spur another outbreak. Too many Americans have been persuaded, by months of lies from Trump on down, that the election was stolen.
Much is at stake here. It's obvious that relations among the Republican leaders and Democratic Gov. Tim Walz have suffered greatly during the pandemic. But the increasingly raw rhetoric from some on the far right has spilled over into outright violence in Washington. We must all do what we can to ensure that does not happen here.
While the invasion of the U.S. Capitol was underway, a "Storm the Capitol" event was also staged in Minnesota. Alarmingly, it featured a GOP activist from Woodbury who issued what could only be seen as a threat, warning Walz to "meet with us one on one, because if you don't, you're going to make us do things we don't want to do. We will come for you."
Walz, whose teenage son was evacuated from the residence over the threats, said Thursday that finding a way to "get together and solve the problem and move forward" will be "the hardest thing to do." But, he said, "if we don't do this right, things will continue to get worse."
Of that we have little doubt.