DULUTH – About 20 trucks with signs and flags supporting Donald Trump paraded by Mayor Emily Larson's house Friday evening, days after she called the president a white supremacist and accused him of sowing division.
Ahead of Trump's rally in Duluth on Wednesday, the mayor condemned Trump's "message of hate and division" on a call with local and state Democratic officials.
"We have a white supremacist in the White House who cares only about himself, who says he is about law and order, but I can guarantee you is coming into my community, disregarding the laws of health and safety for Minnesotans," Larson said on the call.
In a tweet posted Sunday, Larson said vehicles circled her neighborhood for 30 minutes Friday "in an attempt to bully and intimidate me."
"Exercising free speech is one thing. Blocking access to emergency response for an entire neighborhood is another," she wrote.
Elva Klitsch, community event coordinator for Trump supporters of the Twin Ports, said the group drove by the mayor's house because "if we did it at City Hall, she's not going to hear us."
"BLM can go out and stand out on a freeway for hours in Duluth and block traffic, and she's fine with that," the 45-year-old Duluth resident said of the mayor. "But we go up and spend a few minutes in her neighborhood … and all of a sudden, we're just the worst."
Since Friday, Larson said she received videos showing the same vehicles "yelling racist taunts and harassing others" at two different locations. She encouraged the public to report such behavior and noted that she didn't see any women involved in the caravan honking, revving engines and flashing lights outside her house.
"This was simply another example to an attempt to utilize power to control a woman who, in their estimation, stepped out of line," Larson wrote.
Klitsch said there were almost a dozen other women and two children in the vehicle parade with her. She added that her group did not yell racial slurs and criticized the mayor for her past comments about Trump.
"We say no to you and your biased actions, which divide our community and create hate," Klitsch said in a statement she read outside the mayor's house.
Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan on Monday wrote a tweet pointing to recent instances where activists surrounded the home of a Republican state senator, and a DFL-endorsed candidate for a St. Paul House seat was filmed beating effigies of the Minneapolis police union president and his journalist wife.
"A truck parade is not bullying," Carnahan wrote. "Using the Mayor's office to call Pres a White Supremacist is."
The day after his Duluth visit, Trump said he tested positive for COVID-19. The mayor has since urged those attending the rally to get tested for the virus. The city issued a statement expressing concerns about masking and social distancing ahead of the event that the campaign ignored.
Katie Galioto • 612-673-4478