The circle of wonderful first steps: Tom Emmer, WCCO’s Reality Check, and SB1070


For those following the multi-faceted bigotry of MNGOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer–and the faux chagrin of the corporations for funding MNForward’s ad for him–this week opens with more Slytherin slipperiness on immigration.

Tom Emmer appeared on Esme Murphy’s Sunday morning show on WCCO, and about 7:50 into the clip, flinches when she asks about immigration. He then offered a non-statement statement about SB1070 and immigration issues.

On last night’s news, WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler performs a signature “Reality Check” on Emmer’s Sunday version of his statement to MPR back in April. In Reality Check: Emmer On Arizona’s Immigration Law Kessler notes:

Tom Emmer, the Republican Candidate for Governor, said he supports Arizona’s tough new immigration crackdown. However, on Sunday, he toned down previous comments about how “wonderful” it is.

“What I said was … I was asked one question: ‘what do you think about the Arizona law?’ I said ‘it’s a good start when you talk about Arizona,'” said Emmer on WCCO Sunday Morning.

But, IN FACT, that’s not what he said.

On Minnesota Public Radio, Emmer described Arizona’s law as “wonderful,” said it does not target minorities and that it’s appropriate for police to ask for papers.

“I think what Arizona did is a wonderful first step,” said Emmer. “I’m very disappointed at the federal government.” . . .

This isn’t the first time Emmer has re-written his own statement about SB1070.

On June 10, Bluestem noted a similar softening–not only on SB1070, but on earlier responses to a questionnaire from a local anti-immigrant group, Minnesotans Seeking Immigration Reform. The Minnesota Independent picked up on my story in Emmer walks back comment on ‘wonderful’ Arizona immigration bill:

In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio’s Kerri Miller on Thursday, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer seemed to ease off his support for Arizona’s controversial immigration law, SB1070. In April, he praised the law as “a wonderful first step.” As Bluestem Prairie reports, the candidate seems to moderating his stance on immigration.

“The only answer I gave was it’s a good start,” said Emmer. “A lot of people take that to be the final word.”

Miller asked Emmer, “So we need a law like Arizona’s [in Minnesota]?”

“I didn’t say that. We need to look at immigration – how we get people legally, as legal citizens in the state of Minnesota, and assimilate them into Minnesota, so that they can be productive citizens of this state and they can enjoy the freedoms that we are all supposed to have.”

Emmer also talked about an E-Verify system to ensure those employed by the state of Minnesota are U.S. citizens and said Minnesota needs to outlaw “sanctuary cities.” But he also mentioned a “pathway to citizenship,” an idea that breaks with conservative anti-immigration groups, including Minnesotans in Support of Immigration Reform (Minn-SIR), a group that gave Emmer an “A” rating for opposing “paths to citizenship.”

My post includes the MINN-SIR questionnaire that Emmer did so well on.

The Independent noted another twisty turn on Emmer’s part near the end of July in Emmer continues support for Arizona immigration bill:

Emmer’s position on SB 1070 has been a point of contention during his campaign. After the law passed in April, Emmer said, “I think what Arizona has done is a wonderful first step,” but he later attempted to moderate that stance.

With all this spinning, perhaps Representative Emmer could consider a midlife career change, from law to a place in Minnesota’s wind industry.