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Gov. Mark Dayton

Dayton to remain on Council of Governors

ST. PAUL — Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton said Friday that he would remain on the Council of Governors, which is technically appointed by President Donald Trump but serves as a subcommittee of the National Governors Association.

The Pioneer Press inquired whether Dayton, a Trump critic, would step down given the other — more symbolic — resignations from Trump appointments in the aftermath of the president's reaction to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.

Trump appointed Dayton to the council in May along with a bipartisan cohort of governors. By law, the council has five Democratic and five Republican gubernatorial members to "serve as a mechanism for governors and key federal officials to address matters pertaining to the National Guard, homeland defense and defense support to civil authorities," according to the National Governors Association.

In a statement on Aug. 18, 2017, to the Pioneer Press, Dayton spokesman Sam Fettig said the council is only nominally associated with the president.

"The Council of Governors is a subcommittee of the National Governors Association," Fettig said. "Both the National Governors Association and the Council of Governors are completely independent of any presidential administration. The Council of Governors comprises the National Governors Association's leadership on matters of national security."

Earlier this week, Dayton strongly condemned the white nationalists who rallied in Virginia.

"I deplore the actions of reputed white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, KKK affiliates and other extremists, who staged the rally in Charlottesville last Saturday, which resulted in one of them brutally murdering Heather Heyer and seriously injuring other bystanders," Dayton said. "There is no place in our country for this rabid bigotry, racism, xenophobia and hatred. Those who perpetrate it should be held strictly accountable for the consequences of their vile behavior. I believe that government should be a reflection of the diversity of our country. No communities should be excluded from, or afraid of, fully participating in our great democracy. We must continue to ensure that all citizens feel valued and welcomed and eliminate hate, racism and bigotry."