Former Minnesota senator slams Minneapolis-area mayors after protests: They are 'almost invisible'

Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) slammed Minneapolis-area mayors following protests that erupted over the police-involved death of George Floyd, saying the leaders are "almost invisible."

Coleman said in an interview aired Sunday on John Catsimatidis's radio show that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey's (D) call for police to abandon the city's third precinct police station was "stunning."

"We've got two mayors that have been relatively silent and absent without leave in this process," he added.

Coleman said the protests across the nation are "profoundly sad," adding that he would have "arrested that cop early on," referencing the former officer, Derek Chauvin, who kept his knee of Floyd's kneck after Floyd became unresponsive while in police custody.

"I say this as somebody who has the deepest respect for the men and women in blue," Coleman said on "The Cats Roundtable." "They're by-and-large good folks, but you get some folks who do things that simply aren't tolerable."

Coleman also criticized Minnesota Attorney General Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonMinnesota lawmakers blast pharmaceutical industry lawsuit over insulin affordability law OVERNIGHT ENERGY: DOJ whistleblower says California emissions probe was 'abuse of authority' | EPA won't defend policy blocking grantees from serving on boards | Minnesota sues Exxon, others over climate change Minnesota sues Exxon, others over climate change MORE (D) for quoting Martin Luther King Jr.'s words in the wake of the protests.

"Rioting is the unheard being heard- no, no. That was maybe a different time. When you're burning down buildings, when you're looting pharmacies ... when you're doing all sorts of violence and destruction, that's not the unheard. Those are criminals, those are thugs," Coleman said.

The former St. Paul mayor also said he wouldn't be surprised if Antifa is involved in the Minneapolis protests. 

"I've talked to some of the police officers… I think you have a combination," Coleman said of Antifa rioters and "legitimate protesters" upset over Floyd's death.

"Let me separate out the legitimate protesters, the folks who were deeply hurt by what took place," he added.

Coleman called for change, healing, and more love for protesters who are hurt by Floyd's death, but criticized anyone seeking to take advantage of the protests to incite chaos and violence.

"But then you have the thugs. And you have the criminals. And you have Antifa. And you have others that simply look to wreak havoc. Look to destroy. Look to tear down."

"Unfortunately, they have," Coleman said. "And the public response has been slow. Both mayors have been almost invisible. … The bad element comes in. They take advantage of the situation. It's the good people who suffer."

John Catsimatidis is an investor in The Hill