Minn. Senate majority leader criticizes Walz’s church limitations on Fox News

    Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka appears on "The Ingraham Angle" on Thursday, May 21.

    Minnesota state Senate Republicans have become favorite guests of Fox News opinion show host Laura Ingraham. 

    Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, took to her show Thursday night to rail against Gov. Tim Walz’s decision this week to continue limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people, even for churches. 

    Gazelka, as well as fellow state Sen. Scott Jensen, R-Chaska, appeared separately on “The Ingraham Angle” to talk about the governor’s decision to continue limiting religious gatherings even while allowing other businesses like malls and restaurants to reopen with diminished capacity. 

    “Paul, is there something more sinister going on to explain why churches are being treated differently as we begin to re-open?” host Laura Ingraham started.

    “It’s unbelievable,” Gazelka said, explaining that new Minnesota health guidance would allow bars and restaurants to have up to 50 patrons outdoors while still limiting religious gatherings to 10 peole. 

    The Walz administration has countered by pointing to outbreaks that have occurred among choirs, saying singing helps circulate the respiratory droplets that can lead to COVID-19 hotspots.

    Ingraham, a top Fox News personality, has drawn criticism for her show’s promotion of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory about  the drug, warning people not to use it for COVID-19 outside of a hospital or clinical trial. She also drew a boycott from advertisers after appearing to taunt Parkland survivor, David Hogg, in 2018. 

    But Jensen and now Gazelka found a friendly audience in Ingraham. 

    “First of all, they’re telling you don’t go to church, and then, if you go to church, they’re telling you how to worship,” Gazelka said. “It’s just problematic on every level.”

    Minnesota’s Catholic bishops and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod said this week they would defy Walz’s order and proceed with services this weekend. 

    Walz had a call with clergy leaders Friday morning to discuss his recent orders.

    Teddy Tschann, a spokesman for Walz, said the governor is reviewing new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for places of worship after President Donald Trump said Friday churches are “essential.” 

    Trump said governors should reopen churches as quickly as possible.

    “Governor Walz has had many productive conversations with faith leaders in Minnesota over the last few weeks,” Tschann said in a statement. “The Governor’s top priority continues to be the health and safety of Minnesotans.”

     

    Ricardo Lopez
    Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.