A Wyoming major has removed the photos off Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from his town hall and replaced them with an image of a Native American Chief, Huffington Post reports.
Pete Muldoon, mayor of Jackson, Wyoming ordered his staff to remove the photographs of the American leaders, pointing out that the local government is not legally required to display them. The traditional sign of respect has served as a polarizing issue for the town under the current political climate and many residents disliked seeing Trump on the wall. Hillary Clinton won the county that Jackson is located in.
Muldoon said the presidential portraits offered no educational value, and that honoring the president in such a way is an unnecessary display of partisanship. The mayor also stated he was unaware how the photos of Trump and Pence ended up on the wall in the first place, as he never authorized them.
“We aren’t required to display signs of respect, our respect is earned – not demanded. Dictators like Joseph Stalin required their portraits to be displayed everywhere. Luckily, we do not live in a dictatorship,” wrote Muldoon in an official statement.
The Native American who has taken the place of honor is Chief Washakie, a local tribe leader who lived in the 19th century and was known for his negotiations with the U.S. government, peaceful initiatives, and stewardship of his people.
Some local Republicans are lashing out, claiming that Trump is the first president to be denied a place on the town hall walls since the sixties. Councilman Jim Stanford refutes the claim, saying that presidential portraits have only been hanging since the 2000s.
“I’ve always found it a bit strange to have a portrait of the ‘supreme leader’ hanging in the town hall. We should be able to show up to a town meeting to work on town business without having to see the snarling mug of Donald Trump,” said Stanford.
The local council can vote to overrule Mayor Muldoon’s decision, but it’s still unclear if conservatives are willing to waste political capital on such a petty issue.
Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.