On Saturday, President-elect Donald J. Trump spoke at a rally in Mobile, Alabama, on the final stop of what the Trump campaign has dubbed a “Thank You” tour of red states who voted heavily for Trump in the November 8 election. Needless to say, Trump did not hold rallies in Berkeley or Boston, instead sticking to cities like Mobile whose whites turned out in droves to cast votes for the least qualified American president of all time, and who flock to rallies to hear Trump rant about his “historic landslide” victory, tell lies about whatever pops into his childish mind, and whine about the media’s “unfair and biased” coverage of Trump.
The Mobile mayor and his chief of staff got so worked up over having the Donald back in town that they decided to set up a 50-foot Christmas tree as a backdrop to Trump’s speech, probably prompted by Trump’s silly promise to allow everybody to start saying “Merry Christmas” again, as if saying “Merry Christmas” had been a crime till now. The chief of staff was so proud of it:
— Colby Cooper (@ColbyJCooper) December 17, 2016
Cooper continued his breathless tweets when Trump arrived and stood in front of the tree and thousands of lily-white Mobile Trump supporters:
— Colby Cooper (@ColbyJCooper) December 18, 2016
Cooper’s joy and excitement were short-lived, because several Mobile residents thought that the tree with its tacky decorations looked a tad familiar. As reported in the Washington Post this morning (yes, Alabama’s right-wing foolishness is in the national press once again):
But some Mobile residents soon speculated that the majestic cedar tree was one they had seen before, AL.com reported. Just over a mile away from the stadium where Trump would speak, in a public park, a massive cedar tree was gone.
As skeptical residents raised questions with the mayor, city officials confirmed that, indeed, the tree had been removed from Public Safety Memorial Park and taken to Ladd-Peebles Stadium. In emails and across social media, residents erupted in outrage.
“Our city parks aren’t Christmas tree farms,” one woman said she wrote in an email to Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson. “An old growth tree from a city park for backdrop? Insane.”
In an initial statement, Colby Cooper, the chief of staff for the city, lauded the city’s efforts, saying “A Christmas Tree was needed and the City provided it,” AL.com reported. But on Sunday, following public criticism, the chief of staff issued an apology for his role, saying he became “overzealous” in making sure “every detail was covered and the expectations” of Trump’s team were exceeded ahead of Saturday’s televised rally.
A deflated Cooper took to Facebook to issue that apology for the city’s reprehensible decision to kill an old-growth tree in a public park in order to suck up to Trump:
Official Statement of Apology for Actions Taken in Preparation for President-Elect Donald J. Trump’s Visit.
“Yesterday’s visit by President-Elect Trump to the City of Mobile was an incredible opportunity to showcase our City and offer a great event to those attending.
In preparing for this event, I worked closely with the advance team. In an effort to make sure every detail was covered and the expectations of the President-Elect’s team were exceeded, I became overzealous.
I now know there are citizens who are upset and offended that a tree from a City park was used as part of the decorations for the event. I accept full responsibility for having this done.
For this, I sincerely apologize. Going forward, I will be more sensitive to the spectrum of concerns regarding trees.”
– Colby Cooper, Chief of Staff, City of Mobile
Translation: I was so dumb that I thought sawing down a beautiful old tree that had stood for generations in order to stick it in a stadium and decorate it as a throwaway Christmas tree was an awesome idea until people pointed out how insanely stupid it was.
Colby now says he’ll personally pay for three new cedar saplings to be planted in the park, and promises that the now-dead Trump backdrop will be “re-purposed,” whatever the hell that means.
Sweet Home Alabama.