Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) has had plenty to say over the years.
Kiffmeyer's off-hand observations about being hacked (“No big thing”), reasons to gut the Minnesota Historical Society’s funding (using a Dakota name in Fort Snelling’s signage), and disabled and decorated war veteran John Kriesel (“No courage”) are memorable, and many in number.
This week is a time when we should all probably be thinking very carefully about what we want to put out into the world. Not Kiffmeyer, whose latest hot take comes to us from a comment she posted to Facebook in response to Republican activist Don Huizenga (this guy), who wondered aloud, "What is it black America wants?"
Republican activist Jeff Baumann (this guy) went first, opining it “may be that blacks and whites are incapable of living together in peace and harmony in a civil society on a long term basis.”
(Holy shit, Jeff.)
That sort of prompt and response would lead most people of sound mind to nope their way right off Facebook for a while, maybe for good.
Kiffmeyer had a ready reply: “Today on FOX News. They want $13 trillion. $375,000 for each black.”
“Hard no,” replied Baumann. “Although, to be fair, we have probably already spent at least half that on the blacks.”
To which Kiffmeyer replied: “Of course. But the question is what do they want? That is only a start I am sure.”
Screenshots of this exchange, since deleted off Facebook, have been making the rounds online, and it’s going over about as well as can be expected. Former DFL legislator Erin Maye Quade called it “dehumanizing” and “white nationalist rhetoric.”
The President of the MN Senate, Republican Mary Kiffmeyer, said today about Black Minnesotans, "they want $13 Trillion. $375,000 for each black". This language is dehumanizing. She's wrong. And it's not the first time Mary's trafficked in white nationalist rhetoric. pic.twitter.com/gT4ZgMUF9n— Erin Maye Quade (@ErinMayeQuade) June 2, 2020
Of course, if Kiffmeyer actually wanted to know what "they want," she could always ask, you know, Black people, and not her white conservative activist friends on Facebook.
She isn't just any old Republican. Kiffmeyer's been in the Senate since her election in 2008, prior to that was a two-term Secretary of State. For years now, she's been the de facto Republican leader on all things related to elections and voting.
Kiffmeyer did not respond to interview requests, so we can't say exactly what she, personally, thinks we owe "each black." However, Star Tribune politics reporter Torey Van Oot went ahead and asked the party’s caucus and got this response:
Spox: "In a poorly worded reply to a Facebook post, Sen. Kiffmeyer was referring to the proposal released yesterday from BET President Robert Johnson asking for $14T in reparations, which according to his press release, equaled $350,767 for every black person in the country." https://t.co/yCSt6auFpV— Torey Van Oot (@toreyvanoot) June 2, 2020
There's some truth to the statement, with its reference to Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, who told CNBC on Monday the U.S. government should provide $14 trillion in reparations to black Americans to correct the social and economic imbalance caused by racial inequality.
As for the part saying Mary Kiffmeyer's post was "poorly worded," she meant what she wrote. She just didn't expect everyone to read it.