A US congressional candidate has sparked outrage by plastering white supremacist billboards in Tennessee including one saying, ‘Make America White Again’ — a racist spin on Donald Trump’s election campaign slogan.
The ‘Make America White Again’ sign was posted by Rick Tyler, an independent candidate in the race for Tennessee’s 3rd congressional district seat, currently held by Republican Chuck Fleischmann.
Another billboard depicted the White House ringed with Confederate flags, with the statement, “I Have a Dream”, a takeoff from the famous Martin Luther King Jr. speech, WRCB-TV reported.
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Tyler’s billboard saying, ‘Make America White Again’, is an overtly white supremacist spin on Trump’s slogan ‘Make America Great Again’.
His views on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, however, seem conflicting. In blog posts on his website, Tyler calls Trump “latest stalking horse entity to be foisted upon the American electorate” — but also an inspiration.
“His (Trump’s) advocacy of a ‘temporary ban’ on Muslim immigration and the construction of a wall on the Southern border have created a climate conducive to conversation relative to the elephant in the living room no one wants to talk about … namely, the urgent and vital subject of race,” Tyler wrote.
He, however, was quoted as saying that he has no hatred in his heart for “people of colour”.
Tyler said he put up the billboard to make a point that “the ‘Leave It to Beaver,’ ‘Ozzie and Harriet,’ ‘Mayberry’ America of old was vastly superior to what we are experiencing today.”
In a Facebook post, Tyler wrote: “It was an America where doors were left unlocked, violent crime was a mere fraction of today’s rate of occurrence, there were no car jackings, home invasions, Islamic Mosques or radical Jihadist sleeper cells.”
By Thursday the offending billboards located near Benton, Tennessee, were taken down after outraged residents complained, NBC News reported.
Asked if he feared for his safety or backlash from the campaign signs, Tyler was quoted as saying, “I don’t fear it. I welcome it, and I will respond with the application of truth.” He said he had been receiving death threats.
Tyler wants the signs to be put back up and said he paid for the signs to be there until after the November election.
“If I could I’d have hundreds of these billboards up across the 3rd District,” he said.
Congressman Fleischmann also released a statement condemning the billboards.
Voters will head to the polls for Tennessee’s primary elections on August 4. The general election will be held November 8.