Rick Tyler, who is running for Congress in Tennessee, decided to riff on Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan for his own run.
But Tyler’s slogan is jaw-dropping.
People couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw Tyler’s billboard proclaiming, “Make America White Again.”
People who saw the sign next to a highway near Benton, Tenn., called local TV stations to complain and demand that it come down.
They also took photos and posted them online. The images seemed so implausible, fake even, that the Snopes website, which fact-checks online rumors and urban legends, investigated.
People who saw the sign “were skeptical that someone running for Congress would use a slogan that was so blatantly racist,” Snopes wrote.
But the sign is real, Snopes reported.
Tyler, who is white, told WSMV in Nashville that he has no hatred in his heart for “people of color.”
The “Make America White Again” billboard means that the country should go back to the “1960s, ‘Ozzie and Harriet,’ ‘Leave it to Beaver’ time when there were no break-ins, no violent crime, no mass immigration,” he told the TV station.
Tyler is running as an independent candidate for Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District.
He knows some people are angry about the billboard. Tennessee politicians have condemned it.
“There’s no room for this type of hateful display in our political discourse. Racism should be rejected in all its heinous forms in the Third Congressional District and around the country,” Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes said in a statement.
Tyler put up another billboard, too. That one had Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous words “I have a dream” written over a photo of the White House surrounded by Confederate flags.
He told the TV station that he’s received death threats because of the signs. “I respect their right to have an opinion. I believe the majority of the people in the county like it,” he said. “I saw people taking pictures beside it right after I posted it.”
The billboards, however, have disappeared, though no one seems to know who took them down, reported WRCB-TV in Chattanooga.
Tyler said he didn’t take them down and wants them back up because he paid to have them displayed until after the November general election.
“If I could, I’d have hundreds of these billboards up across the 3rd District,” he said.
On his Facebook page Wednesday night Tyler wrote that the country of old he is harkening to “was vastly superior to what we are experiencing today.
“It was an America where doors were left unlocked, violent crime was a mere fraction of today’s rate of occurrence, there were no carjackings, home invasions, Islamic Mosques or radical Jihadist sleeper cells.”