Minnesota GOP chair Hann apologizes for antisemitic image

Minnesota GOP Convention
Kim Crockett speaks during the first day of the Minnesota State Republican Convention, Friday, May 13, 2022, at the Mayo Civic Center in. Rochester, Minn.
Glen Stubbe/AP

The chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota apologized Thursday for an image that was projected at the party's state convention of George Soros manipulating the strings of puppets with the faces of two prominent Jewish Democrats. 

Republican Party Chair David Hann said in a statement that after speaking to staff at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, the party understands concerns that the imagery perpetuated an antisemitic trope.

“It should not have happened, we apologize, and are committed to working with the JCRC to educate our staff and candidates on antisemitism,” Hann said in the statement.

The image was contained in a video shown by secretary of state candidate Kim Crockett. The faces on the puppets were DFL elections attorney Marc Elias and Secretary of State Steve Simon. Soros is also Jewish.

Crockett, who won the party endorsement at the convention, has not spoken publicly about the video, but Hann said he talked to her.

“I have concluded after talking with Ms. Crockett that the depiction of Mr. Soros was not intended as antisemitic, and that neither Ms. Crockett nor her creative team were aware that the depiction of a puppet-master invokes an old but persistent antisemitic trope,” Hann said. 

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In the days after last weekend's convention, the Minnesota DFL Party called on Crockett to apologize. 

“Kim Crockett’s appalling video amounts to an accusation that a cabal of Jewish elites are manipulating our elections. The antisemitic stereotypes Kim Crockett is using to fuel her campaign are centuries old, tremendously offensive, and have caused incredible harm to the Jewish community across the nation," DFL Party Chair Ken Martin said in a statement earlier this week.

Martin also pointed to an earlier incident when Crockett was suspended from the think tank the Center of the American Experiment for making a racist remark about Somalis in Minnesota. 

Crockett apologized for that remark at the time, but was captured on video during this year's campaign saying that she would say the same thing today.