Controversy over President Trump flag at county fair

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WINNESHIEK COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - An event designed for parents and children to learn and have fun is causing controversy. The Winneshiek County Republicans said Winneshiek County Fair Board Members told three people to remove President Trump signs on Thursday.

Two of those signs were posted in animal stalls and another one was hanging on a County Republicans wheelchair. This comes after the County GOP Chair, Thomas Hansen, asked the Decorah City Council to fly a President Trump flag off the city flag pole. That request was denied. Hansen tells TV 9 this is a political issue.

“They have a Gay Pride parade and the flag hanging from the flag is out and no one said anything about it,” he said. “On the side of people who believe in Republicanism, we believe in free speech. The other side believes in stopping speech that they don’t agree with.”

Sara Riley is an attorney in Cedar Rapids who focuses on 1st Amendment Rights issues. She said this isn’t a freedom of speech issue because the county fairgrounds is privately owned.
“What a lot of people don’t understand is the first amendment prohibits the government from regulating speech,” she said. “It does not prohibit private enterprise from regulating speech.”

The fair board was not immediately available for comment but did give us this statement.

“The Winneshiek County Fair's purpose is to encourage and support youth development in our county. We operate under a nonprofit 501C3 status to accomplish this. Under law to maintain this status, we are required to NOT support or endorse political candidates or political parties.”