There is national conversation underway about policing and criminal justice reform. But for Minnesotans, this is personal.
As former Minnesota attorneys general, we understand that doing the job effectively means working with everyone in the community, from residents to community leaders to law enforcement officials. We know that the vast majority of people want a justice system that works for everyone and keeps our communities safe. And like most Minnesotans, we believe that during times of crisis such as this, steady and unifying leadership is required from the highest office in the land.
Instead of uniting our country and calming tensions, President Donald Trump and his allies have sought to further fan the flames of violence and racial tension, and they have politicized our state’s pain. The Trump campaign is running ads in our state that falsely characterize Trump as the “law and order” president, when the reality is that under Trump, the American people are less safe.
In Trump’s America today, the murder rate in cities is up 26%. More cops have died from COVID-19 than on patrol, and he’s proposing a roughly $500 million cut to federal funding for state and local law enforcement.
Trump has refused to unequivocally condemn violence and extremist hate, and hate crimes rose by 17% in his first year in office alone. As COVID-19 kills hundreds of thousands of Americans — including 2,000 in Minnesota — it is worth asking how safe people feel in Donald Trump’s America.
We are proud to be among more than 300 law enforcement officials and former state attorneys general who endorsed Joe Biden for president. Biden knows we can reduce crime and build a more just criminal justice system at the same time. Biden has a vision to unify our country and help our communities build back better than before.
Despite the lies of the Trump campaign, Biden has made clear that he does not support defunding the police. And unlike Trump, Biden has condemned violence and hate in no uncertain terms.
Biden is a man of faith who believes in bringing people together and rebuilding the bonds of trust between police and the communities they’re sworn to serve. And he’s made a commitment to investing in community policing — to get more cops out of their cruisers, walking the streets and developing real relationships with people in every neighborhood.
Trump and representatives from his campaign will continue to visit our state and seek to divide us and exploit our state’s pain for their own political gain. Fear has always been a powerful motivator, and the words of a president and vice president matter. They can help bridge the divide or keep us further apart from one another.
As we face this reckoning, we believe Minnesotans are more than ready for unifying leadership and substantive policy changes that keep our communities safe. If so, the choice couldn’t be more clear.
Lori Swanson was attorney general of Minnesota from 2007-2019. Mike Hatch was attorney general of Minnesota from 1999-2007. Hubert H. “Skip” Humphrey was attorney general of Minnesota from 1983-1999.