An explicit billboard depicting the heads of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on top of piles of faeces, and referring to them as “s**t heads” is causing a controversy in Maryland.
Some Trump supporters have been calling themselves deplorables ever since 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said during the campaign that supporters of then-candidate Trump could be sorted into two baskets: everyday, regular Republicans, and what she called the “basket of deplorables”. In September 2016, she said: “They're racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.”
Jeanette Flaim, the chair of the Calvert County Democratic Central Committee, told Fox 5 that the billboard is “vulgar, and it doesn't reflect Calvert County”.
She added: “Kids are going to school, and they’re going by it every day, and parents are driving their kids. We just don’t think kids should have to see that or parents should have to explain that.”
But Board of County Commissioners President Buddy Hance has indicated that taking the sign down might not be easy. He said: “There is nothing that we as county government can do for language that’s on a legal sign.”
“You know this country was built on the foundation of free speech, and sometimes we like what that free speech says and sometimes we don’t,” he added.
But Ms Flaim told Fox 5 it's not just an issue of free speech, as numerous signs blasting Mr Biden and supporting Mr Trump have gone up in the same place without pushback for years. What she takes issue with is the language and imagery used on this particular billboard.
“We have not complained about any other signs. It’s this sign we think is, again, damaging to all of us, all of us in Calvert. The GOP, the Independents, everybody,” she said.
A statement on the Calvert County Government Facebook page says they “cannot regulate sign content based on the Supreme Court case decision Reed v. Town of Gilbert (2015). The Calvert County local sign regulations are based on location, materials and size, not verbiage. Regulating any content based on the Supreme Court decision would be illegal”.
Ms Flaim told WTOP News that the sign “does not reflect the values of our county, regardless of party... Our county welcomes visitors from far and wide”. She added that the billboard “certainly shouldn’t be what our visitors remember us for”.
The person or group behind the billboard has proved to be elusive and has yet to be identified. Another billboard in the same location went viral in 2018. It said: “Hey liberals, better get your guns if you try to impeach President Trump.” That sign also indicated that it was put up by a group referring to themselves as “deplorables”.