The chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party has apologized for a campaign video shown at the recent state party convention that showed Jewish Holocaust survivor George Soros as a puppetmaster controlling Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, who is also Jewish.
The puppetmaster motif, which was used in a campaign video for GOP-endorsed secretary of state candidate Kim Crockett, is an antisemitic theme long employed to stir suspicion and hatred toward Jewish people.
It drew coverage earlier this week from the Jerusalem Post.
David Hann, the GOP chair, said in a statement that he spoke to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota, and “We wish to assure our friends in the Jewish community that the image was not intended to invoke hostility toward the Jewish people. 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 he spoke to Crockett and concluded, 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.”
Crockett, who did not immediately respond to a text message, is a graduate of the University of Pennslyvania Carey Law School, where she was a founding member of the school’s Federalist Society chapter, according to her LinkedIn page.
As former GOP operative Michael Brodkorb reported, the state party informed the campaigns prior to the convention that “All content needs to be tested, reviewed, and approved at your campaign rehearsal,” which means party officials saw and approved the video.
It’s unclear who produced the video.
Crockett’s campaign has paid Nativ3 Digital Marketing nearly $21,000, but Max Rymer, the company’s president, said the firm “definitely, definitely, definitely” had nothing to do with the Soros video. The company created the campaign’s website and has made social media content.
He said a volunteer produced the video, which Rymer said, “ain’t exactly Hollywood (quality.)”
This is not the first time Crockett has been accused of bigotry.
She previously apologized for comments she made to a New York Times reporter about East African immigrants coming to Minnesota.
“These aren’t people coming from Norway, let’s put it that way. These people are very visible,” she said in 2019, in an article that led her to leave her post at the local conservative outfit Center of the American Experiment.
However, in a recent video posted by Brodkorb, Crockett disavowed earlier apologies. “I would say everything today that I said in 2019,” she said. Her comments were merely taken out of context, she said.
Deena Winter contributed reporting.
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