When one willfully commits a wrong, the first step is to make amends. I suggest the three Minnesota Republican congressmen — Reps. Pete Stauber, Tom Emmer and Jim Hagedorn — make amends to the people of Minnesota for the wrongs committed by their decision to sign the legal brief in support of a failed lawsuit to the Supreme Court attempting to overturn the election outcome in four swing states and essentially the entire election for President Donald Trump. ("All Minn. Republicans in Congress backed suit," front page, Dec. 12.) Emmer, Stauber and Hagedorn, who have sworn to defend the Constitution and represent the people of Minnesota in Congress, demonstrated a willingness to put the political interests of Trump and themselves ahead of the integrity of a U.S. election and the will of the voters.
That was wrong. Their actions and public statements have caused damage to the integrity of the election system, not to mention that they were a waste of taxpayer dollars. These representatives' actions were an attempted assault on the voting rights of Minnesota residents who voted as part of the 80 million Americans who selected Joe Biden, not Trump, to be the next president.
To regain any sense of dignity before returning to the U.S. House, I believe the congressmen need to start making amends. First, publicly acknowledge the determination that has been made by election officials and governors that the United States held a fair and honest election in 2020, free of widespread fraud or illegal voting. Second, show respect for the will of the voters by promising to carry out the constitutional duty of certifying the Electoral College votes and win for Biden on Jan. 6. Last, as part of making amends I suggest they hold a news conference and publicly recognize Biden as president-elect and Kamala Harris as vice president-elect and commit to working with them when taking office on Jan. 20 in order to bring unity that is needed to address the serious problems facing the country. I also suggest state Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer join them.
J. Nash-Wright, Minnetonka
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One wonders why Reps. Emmer, Hagedorn and Stauber would agree to align with a lawsuit that would allow one state to question another state's certified election. I wonder if they would be so quick to hitch a ride on such a bizarre suit if, say, the Iowa attorney general decided to file a similar suit against the representatives' most recent and certified election results. Their silly and sophomoric decision to sign on with the Texas lawsuit reeks of "party first" and is a far cry from democratic norms of this country. Shame on them.
Sean Klett, Woodbury
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Shame on Emmer, Stauber and Hagedorn for supporting the Texas lawsuit before the Supreme Court to throw out votes in four states with absolutely no evidence of fraud or mishandling of the election process.
What has happened to the Republican Party? What hold does outgoing President Trump have on you? Are you afraid of him? Afraid of his base? Need his money? Appeasing him knowing the Supreme Court would toss this frivolous and dangerous lawsuit out? All lousy reasons.
I will remember you and your 123 spineless colleagues who were willing to participate in this action that took this country to the precipice of a coup, of tearing the very heart out of democracy and the Constitution.
Michaela Diercks, former Republican, Wayzata
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While I am deeply disappointed and alarmed that all the Republican U.S. representatives from Minnesota signed on to the lawsuit contesting the results of the 2020 election (which was quickly thrown out by the Supreme Court on Friday), I am particularly struck by Stauber's signature.
Stauber is a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of Democrats and Republicans who meet regularly to work across the aisle to formulate effective solutions. Problem-solving relies on an acceptance of the facts, willingness to listen to differing opinions and to consider a variety of solutions for solving a problem. In other words, finding common ground and compromise. Stauber is lacking these qualifications. He is unwilling to accept the truth that Biden did win this election. He is willing to pit states against each other. He is willing to endorse the idea that the will of the American people in an election can be overturned and thrown out. He is willing to disregard the Constitution. Around 20% of the members of the Problem Solvers Caucus are from the four states whose valid election results were asked to be disregarded. How can he credibly work with them now? What is to be gained by capitulating to a president who is a bully and a liar and simply cannot stand to lose?
Other countries watch what is happening in the U.S. and are alarmed. The German magazine Der Spiegel wrote last week: "The formerly proud party of Abraham Lincoln has degenerated into a collection of spineless yes-men."
Anne Pierce, Plymouth
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Dear Reps. Emmer, Hagedorn, Stauber and the rest of the 126 Republicans who signed on to the Texas lawsuit to invalidate our election:
What happened to your principles as Republicans? What happened to your reverence for the Constitution? For states' rights? For democracy?
Did you really believe there was merit in the hollow lawsuit put forward by the Texas attorney general? Or were you just trying to humor the outgoing president and his base to protect your political future? The president has shown, over and over, that he will throw anyone under the bus when it suits him. In fact, politicians supporting Trump seem to inevitably become political roadkill (see Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, soon-to-be-former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, etc.).
But you must know this already. Instead, you chose to be complicit.
Bullies aren't stopped by helping them continue bullying. Imagine if all 126 of you had stood together, defended our democracy, recognized the results of the election and said, "It's time to move on."
We don't just get to obey the tenets of our democracy when it suits us. Your willful abandonment of your principles endangers everything you say you stand for. A competition of ideas between parties helps maintain the health of our democracy. But your actions undermine the very foundations of our country. How far down that road are you willing to go?
Larry Kraft, St. Louis Park
The writer is a member of the St. Louis Park City Council.
Why are we paying for this?
Why are the citizens of Minneapolis — myself included — responsible for paying for the recklessness of an off-duty police officer ("$1M brutality settlement OK'd," Dec. 5)? Off-duty police should be required to carry their own insurance, and the establishment hiring the off-duty officer should be required to carry an ample amount of insurance as well. It is ridiculous, illogical and irresponsible that we citizens end up paying for what amounts to extortion for bad behavior by a few that is conducted off the clock and outside of regular working hours. The Minneapolis City Council needs to correct this flaw in the law which enables and permits these all-too-frequent abusive situations.
Steve Sitkoff, Minneapolis
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