Friday, September 17, 2021

Minnesota House Democrats expel Representative John Thompson from caucus

Minnesota House Democrats voted Tuesday night to expel Rep. John Thompson from their caucus, citing “credible reports of abuse and misconduct” and Thompson’s “failure to take responsibility.”

John Thompson speaks to the media after being found guilty of obstructing the legal process in a 2019 incident at North Memorial Hospital. (Exclusive to Craig Lassig / Pioneer Press)

The extremely rare move had no effect on Thompson, who represents the St. Paul East Side, who is still holding office. Such an attempt to oust him from the House may still come, but Tuesday night’s drama was not like this.

Thompson’s expulsion from the Democratic-Farmer-Labor caucus is on par with his fellow liberals — who control the majority of the House — booting him from their ranks and making it unlikely that he will chair a committee — or perhaps a Will sit on it too – or make a huge impact anytime soon.

In other words, Thompson’s teammates essentially told him: We don’t want you on our team.

Thompson has been under pressure to resign as the top Democrat since the media reported details of past allegations of physical violence against women in July. Thompson, who has never been convicted of domestic abuse, has repeatedly opted not to publicly address the many specifics of the allegations, although he has been disobedient and has refused to step down.

Tuesday night’s caucus meeting took place behind closed doors.

The caucus’ top two Democrats, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, and Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, issued the following statement:

“Rep. Thompson’s actions, credible reports of abuse and misconduct, and his failure to take responsibility are unacceptable to a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. It would be best for him to resign for the sake of Representative Thompson, his family, and the institution. Resignation.” In the U.S.’s absence, the Minnesota House DFL has voted to remove Representative Thompson from the caucus.

Thompson reaction

It appears that Thompson knew this was coming.

On Tuesday morning, he issued a statement via social media that initially referred to his “removal”, although that wording was later removed.

The statement, which ran about a dozen paragraphs long, took on the same themes as his previous statements, emphasizing the difficulties of living as a black man, who only sought advocacy in 2016, calling his friend Philando Castile St. was killed by a police officer.

When it came to specific allegations of violence against two different women, he avoided specifics. Here is an excerpt from his statement:

Minnesota House Democrats expel Representative John Thompson from caucus
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