A Halloween party at the White House last week invited children and their families to help “Build the Wall” by creating a paper mural with their own personalized bricks.
“The party, which took place inside the office building used by White House staff, included the families of executive-branch employees and VIP guests inside and outside government,” reports HuffPost. Even though many of the attendees were members of President Trump’s administration, not everyone thought the Halloween game was a treat.”
Here is just one photo of the display:
EXCLUSIVE: At a White House Halloween party, children were encouraged to help “Build the Wall” with their own personalized bricks https://t.co/ckofO1fIrY by @janawinter, @hunterw & @CEDickson pic.twitter.com/X6QExgMNZ4
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) November 2, 2019
Children dressed in costumes were given brick-colored paper and asked to write their names down to form the display. Their “bricks” were taped to a wall on, forming a “Build the Wall” display on the first floor of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
The “Wall” was the work of an EEOB staffer, not the president’s or vice president’s office directly.
“Earlier in the week offices inside the EEOB had been instructed to put together kid-friendly displays for trick-or-treaters,” continued HuffPost. “The displays were supposed to be interactive and inspiring, and all were supposed to address the party’s theme: ‘When I grow up I want to be…'”
Though the vice president’s ceremonial office is located on the building’s second floor, a spokesperson for Mike Pence said his office had no hand in the display.
“Our ceremonial office had a plane display,” the spokesperson said. “We had kids build their own paper airplanes and fly them. That’s what the VP came to. He came to our ceremonial office.”
One person in attendance told Yahoo News on the condition of anonymity that they were horrified by the display. “Horrified. We were horrified,” the person said.
One anonymous official in the Trump administration felt people were making too big a deal out of the display. “Everyone loses their minds over everything, and nothing can be funny anymore,” the person said.
One Republican congressional staffer frankly said, “Who gives a s*** about EEOB having Halloween decorations.”
Ben Rohrbaugh, who worked on National Security Council on border security in the Obama administration, told Yahoo News that the wall is a “xenophobic symbol.”
“To the extent the wall is just a xenophobic symbol, this is obviously a gross thing to have children do,” said Rohrbaugh. “To the extent it’s a representation of an actual wall on the southwest border, the kids have made nearly as much progress as the president has since 2017.”
Nate Snyder, who previously served in the Department of Homeland Security as a counterterrorism official, said the White House never created such political displays during the Obama administration.
“We never did anything like this in the Obama administration,” said Snyder. “We hung up skeletons and ghosts.”
Immigration activists were also disturbed by the display. Erika Andiola, the chief advocacy officer for pro-immigration non-profit RAICES, said a border wall should never have been part of a children’s Halloween party.
“I don’t think they understand the amount of pain that people are going through at the border for them to make a joke out of it,” Andiola said. “We still are dealing with children in cages even if people are not calling it that, so it’s not a joke.”
Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, said the display dehumanized brown people. “It screams to white grievance voters that ‘real Americans’ should fear, exclude and dehumanize brown people,” Sharry said. “Only in Trump’s White House would a holiday event centered on kids, costumes and candy become a propaganda opportunity for his racism and xenophobia.”