New Brighton council issues aired out on Fox News

Gina Bauman - member, New Brighton City Council

Val Johnson - mayor, New Brighton

images courtesy

New Brighton City Council member Gina Bauman said New Brighton Mayor Val Johnson gets “unhinged quite often if you don’t agree with her” while being interviewed by Tucker Carlson on the Dec. 7 episode of his Fox News TV show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Carlson interviewed Bauman about a tense exchange between Bauman and Johnson over the idea of white privilege, captured on video during an Oct. 3 city council work session. 

The work session was about creating an inclusive community task force. New Brighton tapes all council work sessions and meetings. Neither Bauman nor Johnson responded to requests for comment.

The three-minute interview, which can be seen on, begins with Carlson sitting at his television studio desk. A graphic to his right reads “‘White Privilege’ Meltdown.”

“Well, the mayor of New Brighton, Minnesota, had a psychic break on camera the other night,” Carlson said to start the segment. 

Carlson cut to edited clips from the Oct. 3 work session. The footage begins with Johnson’s response to a comment made by Bauman about white privilege, which was not shown during the interview.

Johnson tells Bauman that what Bauman said about white privelage is “the most racist ...” before she is cut off by Bauman. 

“Excuse me?” exclaims Bauman, “don’t you ever, ever accuse me of that.”

The footage cuts to Johnson slamming her hand on the table and Bauman and Johnson telling one another that the other is out of order. 

The Fox News show cuts back to Carlson, who is joined on air by Bauman. Bauman appears to be in a television studio, but it’s not said where. 


Question of privilege

Carlson asked about Bauman’s upbringing, asking her if she experienced what he called “serious privilege” and “Oprah-level privilege” growing up. 

“We were not privileged, we did not grow up wealthy,” Bauman said. 

White privilege is the concept that people who are perceived as white enjoy unearned and unacknowledged advantages in society, based on their skin color alone.

Bauman said the white privilege exchange began not because of something Johnson said, but something said by another council member about all white people having white privilege. 

Council member Mary Burg said during the work session that a diverse, inclusive community task force would be beneficial because the entire New Brighton council “all have white privilege” that they cannot themselves see. 

“I don’t think privilege has a color,” Bauman said to Carlson. 

Later, Bauman said Johnson “gets unhinged quite often if you don’t agree with her.”

Wrapping up the interview, Carlson asked Bauman, “Is this known to voters?”

Bauman said that some in New Brighton share her view of Johnson, but that it’s not widely shared. Johnson was re-elected to her second term as mayor in November, with 54 percent of the vote.

Bauman joined the council in 2006, but lost her reelection bid this fall, coming in third place for two council seats with 19 percent of the vote. Her term runs through the end of the year. 

– Solomon Gustavo can be reached at or 651-748-7815.

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