A local Republican group in Ohio has canceled a fundraiser featuring a ride on a train bearing President Trump's name after alleged threats from political opponents.
The event for the Republican Women of Warren County was scheduled to take place in the Cincinnati suburb on Oct. 5, complete with a “Trump Train” ride. But the group behind the event said organizations attached to the GOP program were “threatened/harassed” over their involvement, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
“That kind of bullying discourages citizens from participating in society," said Julie Byrne, vice-chair of the Warren County Republican Party. "The people that engage in this behavior prevented fellow citizens from peacefully assembling and having a family event on a fall afternoon, and they should be ashamed of themselves.”
According to promotional material, three train rides were being offered throughout the day for up to 300 passengers per trip, with tickets ranging from $15 to $20 for children and $20 to $30 for adults. The event was also supposed to feature food trucks, souvenirs and entertainment.
Byrne did not give details of the threats, only saying that they referenced legal action and boycotts.
Warren County Democratic Chair Bethe Goldenfield came out against such tactics, reportedly telling Warren County GOP Chair Jeff Monroe that her group had nothing to do with it. “[W]e haven’t made any threats,” she told the Enquirer.
Monroe condemned those who would threaten people or businesses based on their beliefs.
“It’s a shame that politics has gotten to the point where people believe it’s ok to harass businesses because of their customers’ political viewpoints,” he said.
Goldenfield noted the train ride could have run into potential legal issues, anyway. The company that runs the railroad is operated by a nonprofit, which is prohibited from partisan political activity. While the event was not related to any particular political campaign, Goldenfield reportedly said she was going to contact the railroad about this, but the local Republican group canceled the event first.
“I don't consider that threatening," she argued. "I'm doing my due diligence.”
Further, the railroad company released a statement after the event was canceled, saying once they found out the ride was being called the “Trump Train,” they chose to “disassociate” themselves from the event.
Byrne claimed that the ride would not have posed legal problems, as other nonprofits have rented space or facilities to political groups “without jeopardizing their status.”