THE BUZZ 3: Civil Displeasure

By on October 5, 2016

Don Jr. campaigns for daddy Trump in Jackson, drawing ire from local protestors.

One of the many messages lovingly crafted for Donald Trump Jr.’s Jackson Hole appearance on Monday. Multimillionaire Foster Friess played host to the Don. (Photo: Jessica Chambers)

One of the many messages lovingly crafted for Donald Trump Jr.’s Jackson Hole appearance on Monday. Multimillionaire Foster Friess played host to the Don. (Photo: Jessica Chambers)

JACKSON HOLE, WY – When news of a protest against Donald Trump, Jr.’s Jackson visit appeared in Natalie Bates’ Facebook feed, she and three friends promptly bundled up and headed to the Snow King Ave. rally.

Bates, a 26-year-old teacher, says she doesn’t like talking politics but that the 2016 election “is getting out of hand.” She is part of a growing number of Jackson residents willing to take to the streets as big city problems invade their small town.

Jackson town council candidate Jessica Chambers organized the Monday protest against Trump Jr.’s appearance, which was hosted by multimillionaire Foster Friess.

An email invitation Friess sent to potential donors was titled “Return to Civility,” a phrase that struck Chambers as disingenuous.

“I organized the protest to question this frankly unfathomable notion that Donald Trump is the one who will return civility to politics, as Foster Friess suggests,” Chambers said.

Trump Jr. recently made the news when he tweeted a photo of a poisoned bowl of Skittles candy, likening it to the Syrian refugee crisis. “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. [sic] Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”

Friess’ email invitation praised the 38-year-old Trump Jr. as “a really, really nice guy.” Freiss asked supporters to pay $25,000 for a sit-down with Trump, Jr. or $1,000 to meet him in a larger group setting.

The Don’s appearance in Jackson Hole, a place touted as a tax haven for the rich, falls on the heels of a revelation by The New York Times that his father may not have paid federal taxes for almost two decades. Trump Sr. declared a nearly one billion dollar loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a deduction weighty enough to absolve him from paying federal income tax for up to 18 years, NYT found.

Local fire

The intersection of locally and nationally relevant issues is in high relief this election year, with a report deeming Teton County the most economically disparate place in the nation. Meanwhile a historic housing crisis continues to uproot more and more people from the valley.

The small group of people gathered outside Friess’ office Monday held signs that read “Love Trumps Hate,” “Foster, What would Jesus do?” and “Trump is for himself, not for America.”

Among those in attendance was Deb Hansen. As a mother raising a child in turbulent times, she has found herself increasingly politically engaged. “I stood in the freezing rain so that Donald Jr. could see that [he and his father] do not represent me or my values,” she said. “The thought of Donald Trump as president scares me terribly. I don’t want a misogynistic, fascist, egomaniac who sputters drivel constantly and seems to have the maturity of a schoolyard bully.”

Protestor Carol Francis said there are myriad issues that matter to her, from racism and sexism to raising the minimum wage and ensuring all Americans have access to quality education and health insurance. According to Francis, this means doing everything possible to prevent Trump from becoming president.
“I was a Sanders supporter and vowed that I would never vote for [Hillary Clinton], but have since changed my mind. She is highly qualified to be in the White House and Trump isn’t,” she said.

During the protest, Friess came out of his office to greet the crowd and engage in dialogue. “I was impressed with [his] willingness to engage everyone,” Chambers said.

According to Chambers, Friess thanked everyone for showing up and organizing but he said he couldn’t understand why people would protest Trump’s son when it is Trump Sr. who needs to tone it down.

Friess, who bankrolled Rick Santorum’s failed presidential bid in 2012, told the website The Hill that he supports The Donald.

“I have donated to Donald Trump’s campaign and will be enthusiastically supporting him, our Republican governors, and efforts to keep Congress in Republicans hands, both financially and in other meaningful ways,” Friess said. PJH

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About Meg Daly

Meg Daly is a freelance writer and arts instigator. She grew up in Jackson in the 1970s and 80s, when there were fewer fences, but less culture. Follow Meg on Twitter @MegDaly1

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