As a real estate mogul, reality TV host and now president, Donald Trump is accustomed to having his name up in lights — but not like this.
“TRUMP IS A TRAITOR” shines brightly in red and green holiday colors from the second-story balcony of a home that backs up to Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis, and the man behind the message says the sign is based on fact and not opinion.
“I think it’s hard to come to any other conclusion about someone who is willing to turn against this country for his own enrichment,” said former mayoral candidate Tom Hoch, explaining his thinking behind his conclusion about the various scandals swirling around the president.
“I didn’t view this as a big judgment call; this is a true statement,” said Hoch, former president and CEO of the Hennepin Theatre Trust, whose three theater marquees shine brightly in downtown Minneapolis.
Hoch’s home at 2100 James Avenue S. sits on a slope overlooking the northeastern edge of the lake, where people pass by along E. Lake of the Isles Parkway at all times of the day and night in vehicles, on foot or bike.
Since the display of lights on a wood frame and standing more than 4 feet in height went up Friday, Hoch said, the feedback has been 100 percent supportive.
“I was walking my dog and some guy pulled over and said, ‘Bravo, bravo!’ ” said Hoch, who made a $2,700 campaign donation to Hillary Clinton's failed effort to defeat Trump in 2016.
“A lot of people have stopped” to admire the display, he said. “I’ve been quite surprised.”
The White House declined Wednesday to comment about the unconventional approach to holiday decorating.
Minneapolis city spokesman Casper Hill said there are no ordinances regulating the display of Christmas lights.
Jesse Pfliger, Republican chair for the Fifth Congressional District, which includes Minneapolis, said that Hoch is “entitled to his opinion, [but] nothing has been presented publicly that shows that President Trump has committed any act of treason. It is irresponsible to accuse someone of such a serious offense with no actual evidence. I would hope that any public figure would be careful about that kind of accusation.”
“With that said,” Pfliger added, “I’m happy our society is free and people can choose to disagree and speak out in the public arena as well.”
Hoch’s message stays illuminated all day and night, but don’t expect him to follow the habit of many Twin Cities residents who believe that it’s just fine to leave holiday lights aglow until Easter.
“I have had several people ask me to leave it up year round,” he said. “I don’t think I’m inclined to do that.”
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482