Katie Kieffer

Jesse “The Body”? Who’s that? I’m a Minnesota girl and I only know Jesse the Baby.

In September of 2012, I listened to my home state’s former governor speak at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. I felt embarrassed for my state. Ventura showed up in jeans, a tie-dyed T-shirt and long, straggly gray hair that looked like it hadn’t been combed or washed in days. No, he wasn’t going for “California casual” with jeans in a blazer. On top of his multi-colored t-shirt he donned, not a classy sport coat, but a 90’s-style color-block windbreaker. He was trying and failing to look young, cool and hipster as he spoke to college students.

Nearly two years later, Ventura has cut and washed his hair and polished his wardrobe. He’s swapped his rummage sale rags for a classy black suit and blue tie. His wardrobe may have changed but Ventura is still embarrassing me. He persists in making Minnesotans look like babies who drool when they draw out their vowels.

Last Friday, Ventura won a lawsuit against the widow of late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Jejune Jesse complained that Kyle defamed him and permanently ruined his reputation. The question is whether Ventura had a reputation worth defending to begin with.

Ventura has said: “Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers.” On his 50th birthday, Jesse Ventura showed up in with a crown of flowers on his head and a pink hula skirt swishing at his hips. When he was a pro wrestler, he wore a feather boa and apparently never outgrew the accessory. Dan Creed, who once managed the governor’s mansion, attested that Ventura would leave a pink boa strewn across his bed.

Ventura is tough. He’s manly. He’s Teflon. Can’t you tell?

In his book, Kyle describes a 2006 fight in a California bar after the death of Navy SEAL Mike Monsoor. Kyle referred to Ventura only as a “celebrity” in his book, “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.” Yet, during his book tour, Kyle revealed that the “celebrity” who he punched in the bar for saying that the U.S. Navy SEALs “deserved to lose a few” was indeed Ventura.

Oops. Life Lesson #999: Critique a pubescent man and be prepared to hear him bawl. And can Jesse bawl.

Ventura sued Kyle for defamation shortly after the release of “American Sniper.” About a year later, Kyle tragically died when he and his friend Chad Littlefield were shot in broad daylight at a shooting range in Texas. Their murderer was a young Marine veteran named Eddie Ray Routh who Kyle and Littlefield were trying to help cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. After Kyle’s death, Ventura persisted with his lawsuit by suing the executor of Kyle’s estate, his wife Taya Kyle.


Katie Kieffer

Katie Kieffer is the author of a new book published by Random House, LET ME BE CLEAR: Barack Obama’s War on Millennials and One Woman’s Case for Hope.” She writes a weekly column for Townhall.com. She also runs KatieKieffer.com.