MADISON – The chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin linked Joe Biden on Monday to the takedown of an abolitionist statue in Madison this summer as he cast the state’s GOP delegates for President Donald Trump.
Speaking in Charlotte, North Carolina, from the Republican National Convention floor, Chairman Andrew Hitt also said Wisconsinites fought Democrats during the Civil War, criticized the Democratic presidential nominee for not visiting Wisconsin and championed the state’s cheese curds.
In a night of violent protest in July, a group of people beat state Democratic state Sen. Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee and tore down the “Forward” statute and the statue of Col. Hans Christian Heg, who died in battle as he fought for the Union in the Civil War.
Hitt said the Heg statue had been “toppled in violent protest by Joe Biden’s defunding-the-police allies.” Republicans have noted Biden said “yes, absolutely,” when asked last month if he supported redirecting police funding, but numerous fact checks have concluded Biden opposes defunding the police.
While Republicans have decried the removal of the Heg statue, some have resisted taking down Confederate monuments in the U.S. Capitol. GOP U.S. Reps. Tom Tiffany and Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin voted against such a measure last month.
Republicans recently have also been highlighting Wisconsin’s role in the Civil War and forming the Republican Party. Vice President Mike Pence last month delivered a speech in Ripon, near where a crucial meeting was held as the party formed.
Wisconsin fought for the Union under Republican President Abraham Lincoln against the Confederate South. Democrats at the time dominated the South and argued for continuing slavery.
Nate Evans, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, called Hitt’s comments bizarre.
“These bizarre attacks are the sign of a desperate campaign unable to make an affirmative case for a president who has failed Wisconsin by every conceivable measure,” Evans said by email. “After four years of Donald Trump’s chaos and division, Wisconsinites are ready for a real leader who can actually unify the country — and that’s exactly what they’ll get in Joe Biden.”
Since last week, Republicans have been deriding Biden for not visiting Milwaukee during the Democratic National Committee, which was produced from the city but was mostly virtual. The Democrats moved to the virtual convention because of the coronavirus pandemic and said Trump hadn’t done enough to contain the virus.
Hitt used his brief speech to attack Biden and praise Wisconsin as much as possible.
He said: “The great state of Wisconsin, which since its statehood has led the nation, the great birthplace of the Grand Old Party, the state at the front of the abolitionist movement where more than one in three fought the Democrats to end slavery, the noble state that commemorated an immigrant colonel who gave his life to end slavery with a statue on our Capitol square that was recently toppled in violent protest by Joe Biden’s defunding-the-police allies, the welcoming state that just hosted President Donald J. Trump last week Monday and hosted Vice President Pence last Wednesday, the proud state ignored by Joe Biden for the last 664 days and counting, the dairy state of Wisconsin, where our world-famous cheese curds will be served at the celebration when we deliver our ten electoral votes for President Donald J. Trump to put him back in the White House, the decisive state of Wisconsin with gratitude for our president, who has heard those who have been ignored for so long, thankfully casts every one of our 52 votes for Donald J. Trump.”
Trump was the only candidate on Wisconsin’s primary ballot in April because Hitt and other Republicans blocked other candidates from appearing on it.
Bill Glauber of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.
Contact Patrick Marley at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.