My Point of View: Beware of voting for anyone who piggybacks off of Trump

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2022

My Point of View by Jennifer Vogt-Erickson

Our choice on Aug. 9 to fill our open congressional seat is between a candidate who will defend democracy and one who sides with sedition.

Jennifer Vogt-Erickson

Former President Donald Trump purposely placed Mike Pence’s life in danger on Jan. 6, 2021, by tweeting that the vice president “didn’t have the courage” to overturn election results Trump’s ego could not accept. Trump knew at the time that Pence was at the Capitol, and that the Capitol had already been breached by insurrectionists. 

Trump’s legal team never produced a shred of evidence to successfully challenge the outcome of the 2020 election in court, though they made dozens of frivolous attempts. As former Attorney General Bill Barr clearly stated, there was no evidence of fraud sufficient to change the outcome of the election. Joe Biden was the duly elected president. Trump’s last resort was to summon an angry mob and intimidate Pence into violating his oath of office by not certifying the election results.

But Pence did not bow to Trump’s mob.

The former vice president’s Secret Service detail sent messages to their colleagues asking them to say goodbye to their families for them if they didn’t make it out of the Capitol alive on Jan. 6. Twice they narrowly missed a direct confrontation with insurrectionists who were attacking the Capitol.

It was Mike Pence who stepped into the commander-in-chief role and called Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. Milley testified that Pence directed him, “Get the military down here. Get the [National] Guard here. Put down this situation.”

These leaders circumvented Trump and the normal chain of command when Trump refused to do his duty to act to quell the violence. This is unprecedented in American history. 

As Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, a staunch conservative, observed in the latest Jan. 6 hearing, “Every American must consider this, can a president who is willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of Jan. 6 ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again?”

The answer is clearly no. Yet the Republican candidate to fill our open congressional seat is proudly aligning himself with Trump. Brad Finstad states he is “Pro-Trump” on his campaign’s website. He placed it at the top of his list of values.

When MinnPost asked GOP candidates this spring whether Mike Pence did the right or wrong thing on Jan. 6 when he certified the election of Joe Biden, Finstad did not directly answer the question.

Pence clearly did the right thing. Why wouldn’t Finstad just say so? Pence put loyalty to our constitution above loyalty to a person, even after narrowly escaping an angry mob that threatened to kill him if he didn’t do Trump’s bidding.

It’s a gigantic red flag that Finstad wouldn’t recognize Pence’s fulfillment of his oath of office. Finstad apparently values sucking up to Trump over saving the rule of law. This is simply a deal breaker in a functioning democracy. 

DFL candidate Jeff Ettinger understands that Jan. 6 was a historic catastrophe and that an organized attempt to subvert the results of our presidential election can never be allowed to happen again. He’s a successful retired CEO of a Fortune 500 company who previously supported numerous Republican candidates, including Mitt Romney’s presidential bid. Aaron Farris, an apt pupil of Trumpism, made a transparent attempt earlier to falsely paint Ettinger as “radical” in this column. Ettinger is about as reasonable a problem-solver as a voter could ask for. 

Jeff Ettinger would restore integrity to the seat after the late Rep. Hagedorn’s string of ethical investigations and unprincipled vote with the Trump mob against certifying Biden’s electoral victory. Ettinger would be in the same league as Tim Walz and Tim Penny, who served our district honorably, ably and moderately.

As more riveting testimony comes out from the Jan. 6 committee hearings, the picture for Trump and all his supporters will only become more damning. 

Rep. Cheney is right. Donald Trump abused people’s patriotism. As she stated in her closing remarks on July 21, “Donald Trump knows that millions of Americans who supported him would stand up and defend our nation were it threatened. They would put their lives and their freedom at stake to protect her. And he is preying on their patriotism. He is preying on their sense of justice.”

Beware of voting for anyone who seeks to piggyback on that betrayal, including Finstad.

Please vote for Jeff Ettinger on Tuesday, Aug. 9, on both sides of the ballot, and look for Jeff and other DFL candidates at the Freeborn County DFL fair booth under the Grandstand at the Freeborn County Fair next week.

Jennifer Vogt-Erickson is a member of the Freeborn County DFL Party.