The Facebook photos Tom Emmer doesn't want you to see
The acorn doesn't fall from the tree
Minnesota's Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer put his family front and center in his first television ad, his 20-year-old son Tripp making the pitch that his father is "always talking about cutting taxes and reforming government."
But City Pages has obtained Facebook photos of Tripp drinking at 19, two years away from the legal age to do so. Given Emmer's own controversial past with drinking--he has two DWIs and has championed the rights of DWI offenders in the Statehouse--it's no wonder the photos were scrubbed before dad announced his campaign for governor.
Apparently Tripp didn't learn his lesson: Just last month he pleaded guilty to underage drinking.
In the Emmer ad, the kids talk about their dad's ideas for cutting taxes and boosting job creation. The camera cuts to all three boys doing chores, and Tripp is shown taking out the trash.
Here's Tripp as he appears in the ad:
But there's something about Emmer's past that doesn't make him so family-friendly. He has repeatedly had to publicly address his 1981 and 1991 DWI arrests. And as a state representative, he once authored legislation that would have made drunken driving records private after 10 years and allowed DWI offenders to keep their licenses until they're convicted.
Alliance for a Better Minnesota produced a DWI-themed attack ad that's been in heavy rotation. In it, Margaret Everson talks about the pain of losing her son, John, in a car crash caused by a drunken driver.
"When I heard that Tom Emmer sponsored a law to reduce penalties for drunk drivers, I was outraged," she says. "And then I read that Tom Emmer has been arrested twice himself for drunk driving. And this man wants to be governor?"
This brings us to the photos of young Tripp. The source of the photos says they were obtained more than a year ago, at a time when Tripp's privacy preferences on Facebook made the images available to the public.
That also means he was 19 or younger when he was snapped power drinking with his bros and posing alongside a passed-out girl with a penis drawn on her face and arm in marker.
Given the all-American family image Emmer's trying to sell since the announcement of his gubernatorial run in 2009, it's easy to see why the photos have since disappeared from public view.
We've obscured the identities of the other people in the following images, as well as the identity of our source.
Tripp Emmer grips two cans of beer in one hand.
Tripp Emmer and his buddies with some bottled beer.
Tripp Emmer looking distinguished even though he was 19 when he was drinking in this picture.
Tripp Emmer poses with an unlucky girl.
Tripp Emmer approved this penis drawn on a passed-out girl's face.
Tripp Emmer with a gaggle of young co-eds
Tripp Emmer shows off his assets.
The last two screen shots are taken from Tripp Emmer's Facebook profile page when it was visible to the public. While it doesn't show drinking, it does suggest one very unusual campaign slogan for Tom Emmer's gubernatorial campaign.
Tripp Emmer's profile page
A close up:
A close-up shot of Tripp Emmer's Facebook profile
Favorite quote: "Don't blow your wad in the first period!" -- Thomas Emmer Jr.
In addition to excessive drinking, both father and son also share a passion for ice hockey.
It appears young Tripp has already run afoul of the law for his underage drinking. Court records show that he was ticketed July 7 and pleaded guilty last month.
Court papers on Tripp Emmer's underage drinking.
UPDATE: The Emmer campaign has issued a statement acknowledging Tripp's underage drinking, according to MPR.
"My son made a serious mistake and has paid the consequences," the statement said. "It was a mistake which many Minnesota families are all too familiar with. Like all the other challenges in life, our family is dealing with our son in this matter with humility, seriousness, and love."
- The Facebook photos Tom Emmer doesn't want you to see
- Tom Emmer addresses son Tripp's illegal drinking
- Tripp Emmer was on campaign payroll during underage drinking bust
- Tom Emmer was for bullies before he was against them
Tripp Emmer: It's not the drinking, it's the shaming
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.