Florist Refuses RNC Job: 'There's Blood on That Money'

Owners of FLWR Shop urge others in the event industry to follow their lead
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2023 10:14 AM CDT
Florist Refuses RNC Job: 'There's Blood on That Money'
A balloon with names of the victims is seen at a memorial at the entrance to The Covenant School on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.   (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)

The owners of a Nashville floral shop have turned down a lucrative opportunity to provide flowers for a Republican National Committee fundraising event, saying the blood of the those killed in a recent school shooting in the city would be on any money received. The event—which will include former President Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, and Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn as speakers, per Fox News—would have been a big one for Alex Vaughan and Quinn Kiesow of FLWR Shop. Yet they "immediately declined" the request, the pair said in a statement shared on social media. It was accompanied by a letter sent to event organizers.

The letter notes many of the shop's clients are conservatives, but "this event and some of the speakers listed are beyond our comfort level," per the Tennessean. It adds they "cannot ignore the work that the RNC has done to create this [shooting] tragedy and so many others just like it." In a message to Instagram followers, the shop owners added, "The budget for this job was large. Not something we would ordinarily turn down." But "there's blood on that money and we can have no part in that." Fox likens the move to Christian businesses denying services to LGBTQ individuals for religious reasons. It also suggests that Republicans are taking action on gun control, with Tennessee's Republican Gov. Bill Lee signing an executive order this week "to ensure a more extensive, up-to-date background check process for the purchase of firearms."

However, WPLN describes Lee's move as a "pivot," noting a 2021 bill that would've established red flag laws in the state, filed by a Democrat, failed to pass. Per the Tennessean, Republican lawmakers "have broadened access to firearms" in recent years, with some attempting to "expand a permit-less carry measure to long guns" prior to the March 27 shooting at Nashville's Covenant School that left six dead. "We would like to challenge others in the Nashville event industry to say no to taking money or jobs from the Republican party until they begin to make the changes to gun laws that most Americans are calling for," Vaughan and Kiesow said in the statement. (More Nashville school shooting stories.)

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