Republicans are criticizing Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) for her decision to remove Rep. Matt Grossell (R-Clearbrook) from his committee assignments following his drunken arrest in May.
As was widely reported, Grossell was arrested in early May for trespassing when he refused to leave a St. Paul bar, where he was reportedly causing a disturbance. According to Hortman, Grossell told police officers that he was “in the House of Representatives” and said there would be “hell to pay” if he were arrested, MPR News reported.
Now, nearly fourth months after the fact, Hortman has informed Grossell that he’s been removed from his assignments on the judiciary and public safety committees.
“When someone seeks to use the fact that they are a state representative to secure special treatment, that warrants a reaction from the institution,” Hortman said.
Grossell, a retired law enforcement officer, said in a statement released Wednesday that he’s “worked since the night of the incident to personally apologize to those involved, make amends and complete the legal process.”
“Despite Speaker Hortman’s efforts to remove law enforcement voices from the public safety committee, I will continue to focus on efforts to make our communities safer and support the men and women in law enforcement who put their lives on the line each day to protect Minnesotans,” he added.
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) told MPR News that the decision to remove Grossell from his committee assignments is “the latest example of House Democrats’ outright hostility for law enforcement.”
“They denigrate the work of our men and women in uniform, endorse dangerous ideas like disarming officers, and allow Democrat staff to call police ‘a dangerous and corrupt gang’ without consequence. Democrats demand leniency for felons and criminals, but do not afford the same courtesy to someone who made a mistake and has spent his career serving the people of Minnesota. Speaker Hortman’s decision—three months after the incident—is clearly politically motivated,” Daudt continued.
Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan released a similar statement to the media, saying Hortman’s decision was made “purely for political gain.”
“It’s beyond hypocritical for Democrats to support removing a Representative, and his expertise, from his committee assignment while Congresswoman Omar remains on the Foreign Affairs Committee,” Carnahan said. “It is time for Minnesota Democrats to decide: Will they choose to support the removal of Omar from her committee assignment due to her recent offensive and anti-Semitic words or actions? Or, do Democrats only support taking action when it’s against a Republican?”
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