The Wyoming Republican Party’s Cheyenne headquarters was vandalized sometime Monday night.
According to the Cheyenne Police Department, black spray paint was used to deface the front façade of the party’s headquarters in downtown Cheyenne late overnight in the second act of vandalism to a state Republican Party office in two years.
The vandalism also comes one day after United States Park Service Police used force to disperse protesters gathered outside the White House so President Donald Trump – a life-sized, cardboard cutout of whom is prominently displayed in the front window of the facility – could have his photo taken on the steps of a nearby church.
Wyoming GOP chairman Frank Eathorne did not immediately return phone calls or emails requesting comment Tuesday morning.
According to Wyoming Tribune-Eagle photographer Michael Cummo – who first reported the incident on social media Tuesday morning – the graffiti included the phrases “f*ck Trump” and “I can’t breathe,” the latter an apparent reference to the words of George Floyd, a black man killed on May 25 when Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Authorities have charged Chauvin with murder and manslaughter.
In a phone interview with the Star-Tribune, Cheyenne Police Department spokesman David Inman said that a full report on the incident – which would likely be classified as a misdemeanor – has not yet been completed, and will likely be completed sometime Wednesday morning.
This week’s incident is not the first instance of vandalism to property occupied by the Wyoming Republican Party. In September of 2018, a man broke into and subsequently set fire to the Albany County Republican Party’s offices in Laramie, resulting in a felony charge and 44 months in federal prison.
Wyoming Democratic Party Chairman Joe Barbuto said he reached out to Republican leadership Tuesday morning, per a spokesman, where he condemned the vandalism.
”A lot of people are dissatisfied with and concerned about the way things are going in our state and country,” Barbuto said in a statement to the Star-Tribune. “We encourage them to take that passion and turn it into action through peaceful protests, volunteering for campaigns, and making sure they get themselves and others to the ballot box in August and November.”
Several hours later, the state Republican Party took to Facebook, where it blamed the vandalism on their political opponents and a lack of religion in public schools.
"Although it is disheartening to have had our office front defamed by protestors it comes as no surprise," they wrote. "The organization of the Left is astounding and their tactics are consistently undermining morality. We will clean up our windows and continue in the fight for justice for all."
While the vandalism itself was an isolated incident, protests in Wyoming, to this point, have been overwhelmingly peaceful. To date, three separate demonstrations in Wyoming -- in Riverton, Cheyenne, and Jackson -- have gone off without a hitch, attracting hundreds. Other demonstrations, including one in Casper, are expected to take place throughout the week.
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