Though others may have forgotten, we are still recovering from the whiplash induced by Minnesota Democrats' about-face on the forces behind the riots that have convulsed the Twin Cities.
State leaders stood idly by last week as the Twin Cities burned. Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general and former Democratic National Committee deputy chair, invoked Martin Luther King Jr. to declare that "rioting is the voice of the unheard." Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey allowed protesters to torch a police station, saying that "the symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life."
When, over the weekend, Democratic governor Tim Walz summoned the National Guard to address the riots, the message shifted. Authorities, including Frey, Ellison, and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), started blaming white supremacists for the destruction. Walz himself, who had called the burning embers of the Twin Cities "symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish unheard," now said the rioting was "an organized attempt to destabilize civil society" and pointed the finger at "outside agitators."
Ellison began circulating images of a man whom left-wing Twitter had accused of being an undercover cop. Frey blamed "white supremacists, members of organized crime, out of state instigators, and possibly even foreign actors"—giving his decision to allow protesters to ransack a symbol of the rule of law an even more disturbing significance.
And at no point did anyone offer a shred of evidence to support their claims.
Most confusing of all was Omar—who previously claimed people were "coming in to infiltrate" peaceful protests and alleged in a fundraising email that white supremacists had burned down minority-owned businesses.
Local media have revealed the falsity of these claims, reporting that jail records do not substantiate the assertion that the criminals came mostly from out-of-state. And rather than refute the evidence, Walz, Ellison, and co. have quietly walked back their allegations.
The mainstream media—which happily embraced the implication that Trump supporters were burning things—have moved on to other issues. But we still want to know: What exactly happened?
Either Minnesotans were lied to by leaders too afraid of the mob to act otherwise, or those leaders stood by while white supremacists burned down the cities they were elected to run.
So, which is it?
We asked Minnesota Democrats for evidence to back up their assertions or an explanation for this flip-flop. Ellison did not respond to a request for comment. Walz referred the Washington Free Beacon to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, a spokesman for which said the department was pursuing investigations but was "unable to provide details due to the ongoing and active investigative work by these agencies." A spokesman for Omar said the congresswoman meant that those who riot and protest are by definition not of the community. Our questions about the basis for her fundraising appeal that said white supremacists had set fire to minority-owned businesses went unanswered.
The prevarications we have seen from Minnesota's leaders are a microcosm of the leadership failures now apparent in Democratic-led cities around the country: from De Blasio's New York to Greg Fischer's Louisville, Lyda Krewson's St. Louis, and Eric Garcetti's Los Angeles.
There was a time, not so long ago, when America's cities were blighted and crime-ridden, thanks in large part to ideological leaders afraid of keeping the peace. If the past few weeks prove anything, it is that this new cadre of progressive mayors promises a terrifying return to form.