Town Divided Over Official Who Kneels During Pledge

Melissa Schlag of Connecticut is protesting President Trump's policies
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 31, 2018 1:55 PM CDT
Town Divided Over Official Who Kneels During Pledge
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / scyther5)

A town official opposed to President Trump's policies took a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance at a tense meeting packed with more than 100 people, dividing community residents in Haddam, Conn., the AP reports. Haddam Selectwoman Melissa Schlag faced jeers while she kneeled during the pledge on Monday and asked residents and politicians to not add words to her "silent protest." "I appreciate everyone coming out because this is truly town government at its best," Schlag, a Democrat, said after the demonstration. "We need to continue the conversation or hate will continue to fester." Schlag first knelt during the pledge at the July 16 Board of Selectman's meeting, the CT Mirror reports; a firestorm of reaction ensued, and Monday was the first board meeting since then, per the Hartford Courant.

Before the meeting, about 100 people organized by GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Herbst and state Sen. Art Linares rallied in the town, which has about 8,000 residents, to call Schlag's protest disrespectful. A crowd of about 75 rallied in a different part of town in support of Schlag's protest. At the meeting, the board heard from both sides: One former Marine accused Schlag of "urinat[ing] on all their graves" of his fellow Marines killed in combat, while a Vietnam veteran said that though he doesn't agree with Schlag's reasons for protesting, he fought for her right to do so regardless. Schlag said she began kneeling during the pledge to protest Trump's summit with Vladimir Putin, his hard-line stance on immigration, and other policies. Schlag, who says she has no plans to seek higher office, reports harassment and threats over her protest.

(More political protest stories.)

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