CARBONDALE — Documents obtained by The Southern show the reaction of some of Carbondale’s City Council members when given the news President Donald Trump was going to make a stop in the city.
CARBONDALE — President Donald Trump could be making a visit to Carbondale on Oct. 27.
As previously reported in The Southern, an email went out at about 8 p.m. Oct. 18 to Carbondale’s mayor and City Council members from City Manager Gary Williams about a possible visit by the president.
The subject line read “CONFIDENTIAL INFO” and the email goes on to tell the city’s elected officials of the White House’s interest in having a rally Oct. 27, though details were unclear.
Williams even speculated in the email that the visit could be to announce a big grant being awarded to the city.
However, the possibility of having Trump come to town didn’t sit well with some on the council.
Councilman Adam Loos did some quick politicking to drum up support for a resolution declaring the president unwelcome. Loos told The Southern on Friday that he had spoken to council members Jessica Bradshaw and Tom Grant between 5 and 6 p.m. Oct. 18 getting verbal support for the resolution.
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“Here is the email I sent Gary along with a copy of the proposed resolution and the sources,” Loos wrote Grant at 2:17 a.m. Oct. 19.
“If you want this on the agenda, can you get a text to Gary as soon as possible? I don’t want him to have any excuses for keeping it off the agenda, which he likely wants to do.”
About an hour before, Loos sent an email to Williams, asking that the resolution be put on the agenda, adding that he had support from two other council members.
“I believe when two (or, in this case, three) council members want an item on an agenda, that item should be on that agenda,” Loos wrote in his email to Williams.
He said he planned to speak on the matter regardless of whether the resolution was put on the agenda for a vote — he said if council comments were suspended for the meeting he would begin speaking out of order until he was arrested and removed from the building. Loos also said he was not above calling a special meeting just to vote on the matter.
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The resolution makes note of the city’s community of both documented and undocumented immigrants, its population of women and children and its history of welcoming people into the city with disabilities all as reasons for announcing the president as unwelcome in Carbondale. Trump has been criticized for potentially marginalizing the groups listed in the resolution.
It also cites Trump’s criticism of victims of sexual assault, including Christine Blasey Ford, and his bragging about sexually assaulting women, as grounds for the opposition.
The resolution also describes Trump’s style of governing as fascist.
As was previously reported, the work was for naught — Loos had to later write Williams to rescind his request because support had been withdrawn by others on the council.
MURPHYSBORO — The magnitude of President Donald Trump’s Saturday visit to Southern Illinois was not lost on Murphysboro’s mayor, Will Stephens.
It wasn’t in ideology that the support was removed, though.
“While I agree with everything laid out in this resolution, I have to ask myself if this is the right stance for the City Council to take,” Grant wrote at 9:06 a.m. Oct. 19 to Loos.
“I think for the most part we all loathe this idiot-in-chief, but to declare our dislike at the Council level is inappropriate,” Grant says in the email. He later says in the message that, despite personal feelings about the president, the future ramifications for the city and its people have to be the first priority of the council.
“We shouldn’t tie our hands or that of the staff seeking funding for various projects (and others throughout the region) by adamantly taking a stance opposed to a visit by the ‘tangerine rollercoaster,’” Grant’s message says.
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In her response, Bradshaw agrees with Grant.
“Sorry, Adam, but I think I agree with Tom,” Bradshaw writes in her 9:43 a.m. message to Loos on Oct. 19.
“I agree. I think we can certainly say these things to the media as much as we want, as individuals,” Bradshaw writes an her email to Loos.
Loos replied saying that he respected their decision, but wished he had known earlier — if he had he wouldn’t have spent the night writing the resolution and compiling a list of sources. That said, he wrote Williams before 10 a.m. Oct. 19 to ask to rescind his request.
Even if Grant and Bradshaw had kept their support behind the resolution, it wouldn’t have mattered much on two fronts: The first being that because of potential disruptions to city business by protests, Henry canceled the Oct. 23 meeting. The second reason is that Trump decided to visit Murphysboro instead — the rally was held Oct. 27 at Southern Illinois Airport.
When reached for comment Friday, Bradshaw told The Southern that it was hard to say whether she still stood behind her position. Bradshaw said that because Trump came to Murphysboro and nothing really came of it the point was somewhat "moot."
She made it clear that she was no fan of the president and that the city was, by no means, inviting him to town in the first place. Bradshaw also said she's not sure if more time to research would have made a difference in her decision.
“I think that if we had had more time to see if other towns had done something like what Adam was proposing (I would be interested in seeing that),” Bradshaw said.
Grant doubled down on the assertions he made in his email.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for a City Council to be placed in a position like that,” Grant said Friday.
He said like the man or not, as an official arm of the city government, the office needs respect.
“As a governing body of a town, you still have to respect the office of the presidency,” Grant said.
Grant said he was putting the community over his personal beliefs and thought that such a vote could divide the council and he said in political times like these, this would be detrimental.
“Our community and our council needs to be rock solid,” he said.
However, recognizing that this was a hot-button issue, Grant said he encouraged everyone to not only get out and vote but to run if they want to make change.
Loos said Friday he wishes he still could have had the opportunity to bring this up to council.
“I would have loved to have it up for a vote,” he said, adding that he didn’t have hard feelings for Bradshaw and Grant.
“I understood their reasons, I respect their opinions,” Loos said. “They are their own people and entitled to their own opinions and to act on them.”