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Lawsuit Threatened Over Trump Flags Hanging in Rural Pa. Municipal Building

March 6, 2020by Jason Nark, The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)
US President Donald Trump speaks during the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit March 4, 2020, in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

One flag features Donald Trump standing on a tank. Another has him dressed as Captain America. On the third, the shirtless president is holding a rocket launcher, his biceps ripped.

All three flags are hanging on the wood-paneled walls of the Bigler Township municipal building in central Pennsylvania’s Clearfield County. A local lawyer says they need to come down.

“If it was a traditional, dignified picture of President Trump, that is fine, but these clearly are not that,” Terry Noble told WTAJ, a CBS affiliate in Altoona. “These are what would be called electioneering materials.”

Bigler Township Supervisor Chairman R. Philbert Myers, who paid for the flags, told the Clearfield Progress he would only take them down on Election Day.

“Trump is our president,” Myers told the newspaper. “This is my domain and I run this show. No one is going to tell me what I can and cannot display here.”

Noble, the state Democratic committeeman for rural Clearfield County, has threatened to sue. He told the Clearfield Progress that the flags broke “the laws of common sense and decency” and were being used for “partisan political activity.”

“If it takes a federal judge to say the signs are inappropriate, then so be it,” Noble told WTAJ. “They’re risking financial losses from litigation, from grant money. All in all, it’s a shame that one of their supervisors could literally put their township at risk.”

Bigler, population 1,238, is 230 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Trump won Clearfield County with 73% of the vote in 2016.

Myers, who lamented having to see Gov. Tom Wolf’s photo at Pennsylvania rest stops, told WTAJ he searched the Second Class Township Code and found only one issue with the flags, related to elections. He already removed a “Trump 2020” flag but said the others would come down only on election day, because the municipal building is a polling place.

Myers also hangs a U.S. flag, the state flag and a Veterans of Foreign Wars flag in the municipal building.

“Meaning only one thing: I support our country, our state, our county, our veterans and our president,” Myers told WTAJ. “If this display of flags is taken any other way, shame on you.”

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©2020 The Philadelphia Inquirer

Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at www.inquirer.com

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