ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Top Republican leaders say they will file a formal protest against Democratic Minority Leader Melissa Hortman.
It all stems from comments about a card game in the House retiring room she made on Monday that they say are offensive.
In middle of an emotional debate, Hortman called out the “white male” lawmakers playing cards in the back room — a comment that is still making waves days later.
Lawmakers still come and go from the retiring room during debates, and it’s become the most famous resting lounge in Minnesota. Three days after Democratic leader Melissa Hortman broke up a gathering there.
“I hate to break up the 100 percent white male card game…” she said on the House floor.
The Democratic leader isn’t backing down. She has regrets about how she said it, but not what she said.
“I regret the extent to which relationships have been damaged — yes, for sure — because I respect my Republican colleagues,” she said.
The private retiring room is an ornate, walnut paneled hideaway for lawmakers who need a place to relax during hours of debate. Republican leaders say Hortman should apologize — not for breaking the code of silence about what happens inside the room, but for the “white male” remarks some lawmakers characterized as “racist.”
“It sets a poor tone, and members are very angered by it,” Republican House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin said. “She’s been asked a couple of times to apologize. I don’t know if that’s happened. There’s a lot of feelings about it.”