A white-house-approved plan to keep “The People’s Republic of Champaign” from ever being seen again is under fire for being racist, according to the president’s son, who has been making the rounds to defend it.
President Donald Trump Jr. released a video on Wednesday defending the controversial decision, which he said is part of a larger effort to protect the “people’s republic” from “some nasty people.”
“We’re trying to keep that republic as a place where people feel safe and we’re not trying to take it away from anybody,” Trump Jr., a top White House adviser, said in the video.
“I think we’re going to have a lot of people who love the republic and we can do that.
I’m not trying the same thing.”
Trump Jr. was responding to a tweet from former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who said in a tweet that Trump should “take a moment to appreciate how good the Republic of Illinois looks and how beautiful it is.”
“The people of Illinois, and Illinoisans in general, have been so blessed with the beauty of the state,” Boehner tweeted.
“Their state and the people of the Republic are just too good to ever be taken away from them.
It is time to do right by the people and keep them.””
It is time for the people to take back their republic and their states,” Trump wrote.
Boehner, who is also a senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said on Wednesday that he was “very disappointed” in Trump Jr.’s remarks and the way they were “outraged” and “disgraceful.”
“If he really cared about people, he’d stop trying to divide us up based on what our culture is,” Boehner said on Fox News.
“If he cared about the republic, he would stop attacking our great state of Illinois and just give the people the freedom to decide what their state is.
That’s what the people deserve.”
Trump’s remarks drew swift condemnation from civil rights groups and some Democrats.
“This is beyond unacceptable,” said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Lauren Ehlers.
“It is a shameful attempt to whitewash a history that is not as black and white as some people want us to believe.”
“In the face of racist hate crimes against our fellow Americans, Donald Trump should be ashamed of himself,” said DNC spokeswoman Lauren Meyers.
“Instead of attacking the victims of his racist attacks, he’s attacking the ones who helped him and the ones that have supported him.
He has no right to attack them, and he needs to take responsibility for his actions.”
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, the Ohio Democratic Party’s vice chair, said he was disturbed by the White the president has chosen to defend his father’s racist policy.
“The first thing we need to do is make sure the republic of Champagne stays safe,” Brown said in an email to POLITICO.
“That includes stopping the spread of racism and anti-Semitism.”
“For decades, President Trump has defended his father and his racism in ways that are shameful, dangerous and wrong,” Brown continued.
“He should take a moment of reflection and remember why he chose to defend this racist policy and why he made it.”
Follow Laura Meckler on Twitter: @laura_meckler