A Democratic Connecticut town official kneeled during the Pledge of Allegiance to protest President Trump at a council meeting on Tuesday, drawing outrage from community members.
Haddam selectwoman Melissa Schlag told the Hartford Courant Tuesday that she kneeled during the pledge at the July 16 selectman’s meeting to protest Trump, accusing the president of defending Russian President Vladimir Putin and not backing the U.S. intelligence community’s claims of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
(The Pledge of Allegiance is captured at :38)
Schlag—who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for president in 2016—was the one woman in the room “taking a knee” while the other three town selectmen stood up, placed their hands over their hearts, and recited the pledge.
“The Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t have anything to do with the flag, in my opinion,” Schlag, the 43-year-old Democrat, told WTIC as she recalled the moment she decided to protest Trump.
Schlag’s protest drew the ire of the other selectmen, Connecticut’s top Republican official and people all over Connecticut.
Selectman Larry Maggi, who stood behind Schlag during the pledge, said he was “stunned” to see his colleague kneel during the pledge.
“I’m 58-years-old and this is the first time I have ever messed up the Pledge of Allegiance,” Maggi, a Republican, told WTIC. “I looked down and it was like I couldn’t believe it.”
J.R. Romano, the chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party, called Schlag’s protest part of an effort by Democrats “to grab headlines and be in a perpetual state of rage.”
“Disgusting, if you ask me,’’ Haddam resident Ken Pellegrini, 56, told the Courant. “That’s our flag. It’s disrespecting our whole country, and that’s not OK.’’
“She took a knee and she refused to stand for the flag,’’ said Middletown resident Debbie Dawson, 74. “There’s a lot I objected about Obama, but in a million years, I’d never do that. Country first.”
Schlag got her inspiration from former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who decided to kneel instead of standing during the national anthem to protest police brutality.