Donald Trump should stay away from St. Paul, a city with a rich history of accepting immigrants and refugees, a City Council member said Thursday.
Dai Thao is sponsoring a resolution at Wednesday’s council meeting that condemns Trump’s “anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant” statements. The New York billionaire, who currently is leading Republican presidential polls, would be declared unwelcome in St. Paul if the City Council approves the resolution.
“We don’t have any authority to kick him out, but we’ll send a strong message that that sort of bigotry isn’t accepted here,” Thao said. “We won’t stand by to let him try to divide our community.”
Trump’s latest political firestorm took hold after he said that as president, he would ban Muslims from entering the U.S. His proposal was roundly condemned, including by other Republican presidential candidates, but Trump has consistently said that immigrants and refugees endanger national security and strain the U.S. economy.
“Bigotry, racist divisive politics are just not tolerated here,” Thao said. “As leaders we must do what is right, we express our dismay at what he’s doing.”
Thao said he feels “strongly that it will pass.” If so, St. Paul will join a few other cities nationally that have said they want to ban Trump.
Mayor Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg, Fla., said he would keep Trump out of his city “until we fully understand the dangerous threat posed by all Trumps,” and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said Trump’s “message of hate” is divisive.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Trump “will go down as one of the worst demagogues in recent U.S. political history.”
Thao has a personal stake in the debate.
He belonged to a refugee family from Laos that came to the U.S. in the 1970s and became St. Paul’s first council member of Hmong descent when he was elected in 2013.
The City Council last month passed a resolution, after the terrorist attacks in Paris, that proclaimed St. Paul as a city that welcomed refugees.