Despite controversy, the mock-up border wall was allowed to stand at the Tulsa State Fair.
In the Tulsa County Republican Party’s booth inside of the Expo Building at the Tulsa State Fair, a construction paper “wall” stirred controversy with some fairgoers. The “wall” in question was the basis of a fundraising campaign for the Tulsa County Republican Party, which allowed supporters to purchase “bricks,” also fashioned out of construction paper, for various donation levels and affix them to the “wall.” Although the donations went toward the Tulsa County Republican Party, the display was in reference to Trump’s proposed Mexican border wall, with a cardboard standee Trump on display nearby. Donation levels corresponded with different color bricks: $5 for red, $10 for tan, $50 for silver and $75 for gold.
The director of party communications said the wall represented a “foundation for conservative values.” This explanation did not hold up with offended guests, who made complaints to Expo Square. Officials of Expo Square instructed the Tulsa County Republican Party to remove the display on Monday, October 2, after it had already stood for five days.
They released the following statement: “The Tulsa State Fair is committed to providing a safe and family friendly environment for all attendees. All vendors must follow the terms of their Lease Agreement, which includes rules outlined in the Vendor Rules & Regulation Handbook. At this time, we have asked a few vendors to adjust their displays for this reason. There are a couple of incidents each year when booths accidentally or intentionally violate the Lease Agreement or the rules in the Vendor Rules & Regulation Handbook.”
The next morning, it was taken down, but by the afternoon, it was standing once more. The Tulsa County Republican Party was allowed to rebuild the “wall” when Ron Peters, the Tulsa County Commission Chairman, and Mark Andrus, the executive director of Expo Square, concluded that it was within the party’s First Amendment rights. After reconstructing the display, the Tulsa County Republican Party began to sell snowflakes as well as the “bricks” for the wall.