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Mall Santa Gets Blowback After Posting Photo Wearing ‘Trump’ Hat

By  Frank Camp
Portrait of Santa Claus sitting in a leather armchair raising one hand in a knowing gesture, 1980. United States.
Photo by Tom Kelley/Getty Images

A mall Santa in Waycross, Georgia, was recently reprimanded for donning a pro-Trump hat near the end of his shift, and posting the photo to his personal Facebook page.

After Frank Skinner (aka Santa) took the photo and posted it, an unidentified individual sent a message to The Mall at Waycross Shopping Center, asking: “Can Santa please not wear a Trump hat?”

Mall management replied: “We apologize for this occurrence and will be addressing this right away. The Mall at Waycross does not condone this and does not support any specific political party. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”

Speaking with First Coast News, mall manager James White said that “we were not aware” that Skinner had taken the photo, adding: “It’s safe to say he will not be wearing this hat around here. This particular Santa has been replaced.”

The wording of White’s statement led to assumptions that Skinner had been fired. However, according to Skinner, that’s not the case.

In a lengthy Facebook post about the incident, Skinner said in part:

When I spoke to the Mall management, they advised me that I would be removed from the rotation for a few days to investigate. Then I read the statement made by the Mall Management to the news, and gathered I had actually been fired. I was just as confused as everyone else as to what was going to happen next. I’m still waiting for official communication. Together, [we’re] trying to discern what’s appropriate going forward. There has been no official action at this point.

In the Facebook post, Skinner also said that when he put on the hat to take the photo, it was close to the end of his shift, and “no children were around.”

Despite this, he still apologized to any who have taken offense to his gag:

I certainly was not trying to create a firestorm by doing that but simply intended to post the photo on my page for a little humor, as I have many friends & family who like me, support our president. I knew they would enjoy the photo and get a laugh. Obviously, that turned out to be poor judgment on my part. I didn’t anticipate how upsetting that would be to some members of our community. For that, I’m deeply saddened and apologize.

He stated further: “I want to publicly apologize to RCG Ventures, the mall manager Jimmy White and to you the public. If I caused you any discomfort I’m sincerely sorry.”

Skinner, who has reportedly played Santa for 50 years, added that no parent or child had asked him to put on the hat, and he wouldn’t have done such a thing anyway. He also thanked those who have supported him throughout this process, and addressed concerns about a GoFundMe account.

The mall Santa said he was surprised when a friend set up a GoFundMe for him after the incident, and that he would return money to anyone who asked for their donation back.

Skinner claims he will accept whatever happens regarding his position at the mall, though speaking with News4Jax, he said it was suggested to him that he should “lay low for a while and stay gone for a few days.” Skinner added: “Let’s see if we can get this thing worked out.”

After telling News4Jax that things just need to “die down,” he added: “Let’s get down to the basics. It’s the Christmas season, and the real reason for the season is not about Santa, it’s all about Christ.”

Beneath his Facebook post, numerous commenters offered condolences and encouragement, as well as condemnatory statements about progressive ideology.

One commenter, who noted his extreme distaste for President Trump, offered some advise to Skinner, writing:

Not a good idea to flaunt that hat when your job is to be a mall Santa. I know you worship Trump, like many adoring fans. I find Trump despicable, a draft dodging punk who disgraces this country. I served in 1969. Trump stayed home in comfort. The pampered adulterer touts “christian values” to curry votes of suckers. (Christians who adore this creep are clueless).

Still, this is America. You get to express yourself. Just don’t violate the rules of those you work for. I got a guy that wears a MAGA cap working for me. I tell him ok, just don’t be rude to customers.

The Daily Wire reached out to Skinner for further comment, but as of publication, we have not received a reply.

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