Tom Emmer addresses son Tripp's illegal drinking


Republican candidate for governor Tom Emmer admitted today that his son, Tripp, had been cited for underage drinking in July, and "our family is dealing with our son in this matter."

City Pages broke the underage drinking citation news earlier today. We also posted a series of photos taken from Tripp's Facebook page in which he can be seen drinking with friends. In one of the pictures, he's giving the thumbs-up sign over a passed-out woman with a penis drawn on her face and arm.

See our original Tripp Emmer photos and story by clicking here.

"My son made a serious mistake and has paid the consequences," Emmer said in a statement about the citation, without addressing the photographs. "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."

We published the photographs and the citation after Emmer injected his son into the campaign in his first television ad, where Tripp says his father is "always talking about cutting taxes and reforming government." Emmer, a state representative with two DWI arrests, has championed the rights of DWI offenders, authoring legislation that would have made drunken driving records private after 10 years and allowed DWI offenders to keep their licenses until they're convicted.

The Associated Press was aware of Tripp Emmer's underage drinking citation, but held the story. The Star Tribune told the website the whole story was news to them, and now that it has broken, they're not interested.

But Slate, the national news and politics site, suggested that the decision to publish was sound, considering the circumstances:

The photos show Tripp partying and drinking last year at the very not-legal age of 19, and posing-with a thumbs-up-next to a passed-out girl who was kindly given some Sharpie penis drawings on her face and arm. Normally, this would all just point to the not very salacious fact that Tripp is one of those backwards hat-wearing, power-drinking, fratty teens, but the problem is this: Dad Tom Emmer has been convicted of two DWIs as an adult and has also championed reduced penalties for drunk drivers. Tripp, his son, pleaded guilty to underage drinking less than two months ago. Just like Bristol's pregnancy highlighted the hypocrisy of Palin's pro-abstinence stance, in Emmer's case, too, the personal is political.

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