After widespread backlash, including from President Trump, city officials in a town in Minnesota located in Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s district have apologized for voting to eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance during city council meetings in an attempt to encourage “diversity.”
As The Daily Wire reported, in a unanimous 5 to 0 vote on June 17, the St. Louis Park City Council voted to drop the Pledge of Allegiance from meetings “in order to create a more welcoming environment to a diverse community.”
“We concluded that in order to create a more welcoming environment to a diverse community we’re going to forgo saying the Pledge of Allegiance before every meeting,” City Council Member Tim Brausen explained at the time.
“Not everyone who does business with the city or has a conversation is a citizen,” said City Council Member Anne Mavity, who sponsored the change in policy. “They certainly don’t need to come into city council chambers and pledge their allegiance to our country in order to tell us what their input is about a sidewalk in front of their home.”
“I hope it’s not too controversial,” added Brausen. “Our community tends to be a very welcoming and increasingly diverse community, and we believe our citizens will understand.”
But the move did indeed turn out to be “too controversial,” and a lot the residents refused to “understand” the decision as Brausen hoped they would. Citizens mounted protests, the Minnesota Senate Republicans blasted the council for the “shocking” decision, and even the president of the United States felt compelled to weigh in on the anti-pledge vote.
“The Pledge of Allegiance to our great Country, in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, is under siege,” Trump tweeted a few days before the council announced its reversal. “That is why I am going to win the Great State of Minnesota in the 2020 Election. People are sick and tired of this stupidity and disloyalty to our wonderful USA!”
St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano also put pressure on the city council to rethink their new pledge-free policy. “I think it’s mainly planted or maybe cultivated in some people’s minds, the idea that somehow, people who are new to America don’t appreciate these things,” he suggested amid the mounting backlash.
On Monday, the council again voted unanimously, this time to reinstate the pledge.
“I’ve concluded that I made a mistake and I’m sorry and I’m asking for forgiveness,” City Council Member Steve Hallifan said at the meeting Monday, FOX9 reported.
While some members were apologetic, some also cited “threatening phone calls and emails they received over the last three weeks, saying it was affecting their ability to do their jobs, and negatively impacting staff,” Fox reports.
Though she likewise voted to reinstate the pledge, Mavity suggested all the outrage from protesters and political figures was baseless. “I’m not sure that if you say the pledge three times a month instead of this two, you’re more patriotic. Or if you say it one time a month you’re less patriotic. That makes no sense,” she said.