The newly elected mayor of Jackson, Wyoming, has removed the portraits of President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from the Town Hall building’s entrance, breaking a decades-long tradition.
Mayor Pete Muldoon replaced the photographs of Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence with one of former Shoshone Chief Washakie, who “played a pivotal role in the region’s settlement,” according to the Jackson Hole News & Guide.
“Our town government takes a lot of pride in the details, in getting it right, in working together, in respecting all members of the community, in service to the public and in competence,” Mr. Muldoon told the newspaper. “Our current president shows no interest in any of these things, and I think it sends the wrong message when we honor him.”
The mayor explained his decision in a press release Sunday after his removal of the portraits drew backlash.
“There has been an argument made that we should respect the office of the president, if not the president himself,” Mr. Muldoon said. “Fair enough — but there are two other equal branches of government, and no one seems particularly interested in displaying portraits of the Speaker of the House or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.”
The mayor explained that he sees no “educational value” or purpose in honoring Mr. Trump, whom he described as “an extremely divisive figure.”
“Whether you agree with his opinions or not, it’s undeniably true that many residents intensely dislike him, and find his political views odious. Our previous president, whether deserved or not, evoked a similar response from some residents,” Mr. Muldoon said. “When the Town Of Jackson decides to honor such a divisive person, it is taking sides against some of its residents. The Town Council has made no such decision, and until and unless it does, that kind of honor will not be bestowed. I don’t know who put up the portrait of Trump, but it was not authorized by myself or the Council. If Barack Obama was still president, I would make the same decision.”
Councilman Jim Stanford said it was his idea to replace the portraits of Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence with a photo of Chief Washakie.
“We’re not a federal building so we’re not required to hang pictures of the president and vice president,” Mr. Stanford told News & Guide. “There’s been a lot of redecorating going on around Town Hall. The mayor and I talked about continuing that trend, and I didn’t particularly like those pictures. Chief Washakie is somebody we can all get behind. Town Hall should be a haven for people from all backgrounds.”
County Commissioner Paul Vogelheim, chairman of the Teton County Republicans, said he was disappointed by the mayor’s actions.
“Hanging pictures of the president has been a tradition in the community since at least the mid-‘80s,” he told News & Guide. “I find this totally disrespectful and dishonoring of the position of the president. Even more so, the concern is that it’s bringing ugly national partisan politics into our community.”
Republican state Rep. Tyler Lindholm also posted a video on Facebook criticizing the mayor’s decision, The Blaze reported.
“As soon as a Republican’s elected, Jackson takes the stance that they’re gonna jerk their pictures down,” he said. “I guess that shows character, doesn’t it.”