Politics and Government

Minnesota DFL leaders call on Rep. John Thompson to resign

Updated: July 18, 3:30 p.m. | Posted: July 17, 3:05 p.m.

Top Minnesota Democrats including Gov. Tim Walz and House Speaker Melissa Hortman are calling on Democratic State Rep. John Thompson to resign.

In a series of statements Saturday afternoon, Walz, Hortman, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler and Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin referred to a Fox 9 story published Friday which uncovered several past domestic abuse allegations in which Thompson was accused of assaulting women, in some cases with children present.

Thompson, who denies the allegations, already was facing scrutiny related to a recent traffic stop in which he presented a Wisconsin driver's license. His attorney said Sunday that Thompson, a first-term representative from St. Paul, does not plan to step down.

The statements from Walz and other DFL leaders were sent minutes apart on Saturday.

"The alleged acts of violence against multiple women outlined in these reports are serious and deeply disturbing," Walz wrote. "Minnesotans deserve representatives of the highest moral character, who uphold our shared values. Representative Thompson can no longer effectively be that leader and he should immediately resign."

"As a mom, advocate for children, and survivor and child witness of domestic violence, I know the deeply traumatic impact of the actions outlined in reports against Representative Thompson," Flanagan wrote. "Someone who has allegedly demonstrated this violent pattern of behavior, especially in the presence of children, is unfit to serve in elected office. Representative Thompson must resign."

In a joint statement, Hortman and Winkler wrote that "Representative Thompson ran for office to advance progressive policies, but his recent actions, and unacceptable reports of abuse and misconduct, have become an impediment to that work."

Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt also issued a statement Saturday, calling Thompson unfit to serve and saying that "House Republicans have prepared additional ethics complaints that will be filed Monday in the event Representative Thompson does not resign."

A message left with Thompson on Saturday was not returned.

But Thompson’s attorney Jordan Kushner issued a statement on Sunday saying that Thompson "challenges the authenticity of the police reports" about the alleged abuse.

"Mr. Thompson and his wife — the only person whom Mr. Thompson would have been with at the times of the incidents — categorically deny that any of the inflammatory allegations ... ever occurred. Mr. Thompson's wife further does not recall and does not believe she ever made such allegations. They have been together as a couple for more than twenty years, have worked through issues earlier in their relationship, and have a solid marriage."

The statement went on to say that "it is unfathomable that the many people digging into Mr. Thompson's past would not have found those police reports before the November election much less during the ensuing months,” and claimed that the reports “are a product of the campaign to silence an American African man who speaks out against powerful and abusive interests, and not the product of any effort to uncover truth.”