He stated his objections in a letter written to the Minnesota Historical Society.
While the paintings “portrayed one episode of Minnesota’s history and rightly honored the heroic sacrifices by thousands of Minnesotans,” he wrote that he believes the room should be filled with art that more completely depicts the state’s history.
“It should better represent the full complexion of our state and a more varied perspective on our history, geography and culture,” he said.
On Tuesday, there was a meeting of the Minnesota State Capitol Preservation Commission which Dayton attended. When it seemed clear that many on the Commission did not share the governor's perspective, this happened:
MN Gov Dayton angrily leaves meeting: He wants to remove Civil War paintings from his office, but many oppose. pic.twitter.com/FIuwIgX0Dn— Patrick Kessler (@PatKessler) November 29, 2016
Before storming out of the meeting, Dayton decided to lob a rhetorical bomb at Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood), a member of the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board who expressed a strong desire to keep the paintings in place.
Early in the Minnesota State Capitol Preservation Commission meeting, Dayton said that Dean, by previously sending an email to the members of the panel, attempted “to hijack the operation of this commission for your own political purposes, for your governor campaign in 2018.”
If that indeed was Dean's ulterior motive (highly unlikely), can ya blame him? He doesn't have a wealthy ex-wife to fund his gubernatorial campaign, so it would behoove him to get a little creative.
But I digress.
To be honest, I don't necessarily disagree with Dayton's stance. There is definitely a lot to Minnesota's rich history, so perhaps there is relevant art work which could be used to supplement the Civil War paintings. But the governor's downright petulance when things don't go his way is an utter embarrassment.
In what will be the final two years of his tenure as governor of Minnesota, Dayton is not going to get a lot of what he wants since the Republicans have a majority in both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature. If abruptly leaving meetings out of spite is now his modus operandi, he's certainly going to give that surgically repaired hip of his a heck of a workout.