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President Donald Trump’s postelection behavior was predictable (“Trump trying to nullify election,” front page, Nov. 20). After four years of lies, denials and recriminations, why could any other behavior be expected? However, the postelection behavior of the Republican leaders, or rather non-leaders, was not predictable. Especially to Minnesotans, who over the decades experienced superb Republican governors and senators like Harold Stassen, Arne Carlson, Al Quie and David Durenberger. It’s inconceivable that men like these would silently acquiesce to Trump’s outrageous attacks on the election’s validity.

In fact, Sen. Durenberger, in a fine essay in the Star Tribune in May, warned that “the re-election of Donald Trump would be disastrous for the country and ruinous for the Republican Party.” As it has turned out, this prediction, because of the spineless behavior of Senate Republicans, also holds true even for Trump’s loss. Perhaps these senators now hear the words aimed at their predecessor, Sen. Joseph McCarthy: “Have you left no sense of decency?”

Wilfred Theisen, Collegeville, Minn.

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During the campaign Trump was allowed to ignore states’ (and federal) health guidelines to hold large rallies, campaign on the White House grounds and turn many of his “presidential addresses” into prime-time TV partisan rants as a privilege of his position and power. Now after weeks of contesting the election results in the courts, as is his right, and failing to prove his cases, Trump has resorted to using his position and power to meet with Republican legislators with the goal of pressuring them around their roles in election certification and setting slates of electors for the Electoral College vote.

How is it possible to have a free and fair election if one of the competitors is allowed to put his thumb on the scale again and again? And where is the appropriate response from the elected officials allowing this misuse of position and power to take place? Don’t tell us it’s just more “unprecedented” action by the president. Call it what it is: abnormal behavior that violates our norms. At what point does it become illegal tampering with an election?

Helen Henly, Minneapolis

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I’m assuming you’ve seen the video of Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell at their news conference on Thursday afternoon. I’m assuming you’ve heard the reports of the American military supposedly raiding the (nonexistent) German offices of a Spanish company and retrieving a server that has the “real” results of the U.S. election. I’m sure you’ve heard about the widespread, coordinated voter fraud that “occurred” across the nation. And I’m sure you’ve seen how Trump is inserting himself into the election process, a process that the U.S. Constitution bestows upon the states themselves.

OK, it’s time for the adults to step back into the room and put an end to this nonsense. It’s time step up and honor the vow you took when sworn into office. Our country has enough going on with the coronavirus pandemic that we don’t need to be attacking the very basis of our democratic republic, what most of us call “democracy” — our election process.

Yes, I know that some of you think this is all just a game. Well, it’s not. What’s happening now — what’s being allowed and even encouraged to happen now — is going to have severe repercussions for our country. Undermining belief in our election process isn’t a game, and it isn’t funny.

Americans are proud of our country. We want to believe that we’re the best country in the world, that our system of government is the best in the world. And, right now, as you read this, it’s being ridiculed and mocked. Once the leaders of the free world, we’re on the cusp of becoming an irrelevant, political joke.

So, it’s time to stand up and be counted. Are you going to stand by and watch our country be destroyed from within, or are you going to respect your oath of office, stand up and put an end to the game?

We the citizens of the United States are waiting. And watching. As is the rest of the world.

Jim Nally, Maplewood


Here’s what we should ask for

John Rash successfully summarizes challenges, especially in foreign affairs, that President-elect Joe Biden’s administration likely will encounter (“Biden White House will face black swans,” Opinion Exchange, Nov. 14). In stark contrast to current policies, I have confidence that Biden and his team will embrace these critical positions that are intricately linked:

• Recognize the value of diplomatic engagement. Diplomacy is not synonymous with weakness or appeasement. Success with diplomacy takes significant measures of courage, fortitude and wisdom.

• Re-establish alliances and embrace multilateralism. Imagine the relief in South Korea, Japan, Australia and the entirety of Southeast Asia if the United States led a coalition of nations in setting and enforcing clear expectations for actions by China.

• Respect institutions, both domestic and international, whose apparatuses are designed to insure our security and secure mutual benefit for participants. Supporting our intelligence agencies and reaffirming our commitment to NATO are examples.

• Place the highest value on fact-based decisionmaking. Staff government agencies with nonpartisan experts whose knowledge and experience will guide policies that are both credible and trustworthy. Reject the politicizing of agencies that ultimately undermines confidence in our democratic institutions.

• Prepare for the long-term impact of policy decisions. Reliance on short-term transactionalism creates instability and unpredictability.

The challenges are daunting, but success is achievable. Coordinated commitment by the White House and Congress is essential. Our representatives in Washington need to hear our expectations.

Phil George, Lakeville


Churches, sadly, should be included

Gov. Tim Walz’s most recent executive order states that social gatherings are prohibited “even if social distancing can be maintained.” As a physician with health administration training I support his order; it is appropriate given the surge of Minnesota COVID cases.

However, the same executive order allows gathering for worship services as long as they use social-distancing practices. As the president of a suburban church, I yearn to open worship services for our congregation, but it is irresponsible to do so. The COVID virus doesn’t act differently because the gathering is for religious purposes.

Controlling a pandemic is not a threat to the separation of church and state. The pandemic will eventually be controlled thanks to the emergence of effective vaccines. People of faith will find alternative ways to worship until they can safely gather again in their houses of worship. In the interim, the governor is fueling distrust by allowing exceptions to his executive order that do not make scientific sense and potentially extending the pandemic’s reach into our communities. He should reconsider the exception.

Lee Newcomer, Wayzata

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A Nov. 20 letter writer wondering why gyms but not large stores must close probably understands that the force and number of breaths per minute are far different between health clubs and big-box retail stores. The problem we are trying to contain is how many of these molecules of moist air from each person get airborne within a building. There are vast difference between these two, with the gym as the winner with the highest number of molecules per minute. He must have forgotten this obvious problem.

Louis G. DeMars, Edina

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