By JENNIFER McDERMOTT
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — After harsh criticism, a Rhode Island homeowner removed a campaign sign for the state’s Republican gubernatorial nominee that was hanging upside down from a noose in his yard.
Homeowner Ray Izzo of Glocester took down the sign after Allan Fung, the GOP candidate for governor, called the display disgusting and hateful.
“Think about the message that this is sending to many of the kids in that neighborhood,’’ Fung said.
Fung, who would become the state’s first Asian American governor if he wins, is challenging Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo in November. Joe Trillo, who chaired President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign in Rhode Island, is running as an independent.
The homeowner’s lawn also displayed signs for Trillo and for Robert Flanders, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate — but right side up.
Izzo said he’s upset that Fung, the mayor of Cranston, didn’t participate in the typical series of debates before the primary, according to WJAR-TV. He said it’s not about race, it’s about taxes. Izzo told WJAR he would have hung Raimondo’s sign too if he could’ve gotten one.
WPRO-AM posted a photo on Sept. 18 on Twitter of the upside-down sign, which Izzo brought to Fung’s campaign headquarters that afternoon after removing it from his yard. Fung wasn’t there at the time.
Trillo and Flanders both said they don’t condone the conduct.
“I’m disappointed that some people choose to express their feelings in that kind of manner,’’ Trillo said. “It’s an unfortunate situation.’’
The Flanders’ campaign said the display was “loaded with the baggage of a hateful history.’’
The press conference at Fung’s campaign headquarters was his first of the campaign. He refused questions at his campaign kickoff and participated in a single debate on a small radio station last month.
Before the press conference began, Fung said he would not answer questions about anything other than the noose. After The Associated Press asked Fung for his response to the Trump administration’s slashing the number of refugees it will accept for a second straight year, Fung walked away.
Fung briefly answered a question about the Raimondo campaign at the end of the press conference. He explained how he’d cooperate with federal law enforcement officials on immigration if elected, before leaving as a reporter posed another question. Raimondo typically answers questions from reporters about various topics at her press conferences.