A billboard mocking "The Squad" put up by a gun shop in Murphy, North Carolina and promoted by the store on social media has stirred up controversy over what critics are condemning as a "racist" message that is "encouraging gun violence." Among those blasting the store are some of the congresswomen themselves, who are calling for the billboard to be taken down.
As touted in multiple Facebook posts by the store, Murphy's Cherokee Guns put up a billboard over the weekend featuring photographs of the four members of "The Squad" — Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Rashida Tlaib (MI), and Ayanna Pressley (MA) — and read: "The 4 Horsemen
Cometh Are Idiots," signed by "the Deplorables."
Below is the store's Facebook post showing a photo of the billboard posted on Sunday (update: original post has been removed; screenshot below):
The store followed up the post with another that includes some loaded commentary and takes a few more shots at the congresswomen, as well as "snowflake" liberals.
"Alright my fellow Infidels for Trump...due to OVERWHELMING demand...you may come by the shop (next week) and get your very own FOUR HORSEMEN COMETH STICKER...simple...eat a piece of bacon...tell us you're voting for Trump in 2020...then get your limited edition bumper sticker!! (While supplies last!) Snowflakes and Liberals are not eligible...sorry..." the post reads (screenshot of since-deleted post below).
As reported by The Washington Post, the shop's billboard and posts have been condemned by critics, including Rep. Tlaib, who accused the shop of "inciting violence."
"How the hell is this not inciting violence?" wrote Tlaib in response to a post by the group Muslim Advocates, which states: "A billboard is up in NC that is *encouraging gun violence* against @IlhanMN @AOC @RashidaTlaib & @AyannaPressley. Take action & tell the companies supporting this that IT NEEDS TO COME DOWN."
Rep. Pressley has also responded, tweeting a message directed at North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows calling on him to "do the right thing" to protect her and her fellow "vulnerable" congresswomen.
"#Racist rhetoric from the occupant of the @WhiteHouse has made hate our new normal. We are still vulnerable," wrote Pressley. "[Rep. Mark Meadows] – Cherokee Guns is in your district & you and I serve on a committee together. Here’s your chance to finally do the right thing."
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence also declared the store's rhetoric to be "dangerous" — and ultimately inspired by Donald Trump.
"Disgusting anti-government violent rhetoric from Cherokee Guns in North Carolina," the organization wrote in a Facebook post responding to the store's billboard. "Threats against members of Congress, particularly minority members are [up] and it is driven by the president’s racial rhetoric[.] This is dangerous!!!"
Several Facebook users have also expressed outrage over the gun shop's posts. "What, no targets on their faces?" wrote one user. "Reported as terrorism," wrote another. "You righties are just playing into the sterotype of your own making, aren't you! You can't go one day without looking like a bunch of fascist, minority hating a**holes who will follow your fuhrer blindly. I have yet to see a story or hear from a republican that doesn't sound like Germany in the 40s," wrote another. "This is really not a good look for your shop. Putting virtual targets on anyone’s head is just in poor taste," added another. "Prepare to be put out if business, you racist piece of sh**," one predicted.
Others have come to the store's defense, arguing that the billboard does not contain any racist references or any calls to violence.