An independent candidate for Congress in Tennessee has sparked outrage by posting a billboard with the phrase “Make America White Again,” a play on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump‘s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Rick Tyler, who is running against several opponents for the state’s 3rd Congressional District seat, placed the billboard off a highway in the Polk County town of Benton, home to about 1,300 people, according to WSMV-TV.
Tyler told the news station the billboard reflects his call for America to return to the “1960s, Ozzie and Harriet, Leave it to Beaver time when there were no break-ins; no violent crime; no mass immigration.”
Tyler, who owns a local restaurant, describes himself on his Facebook page as an “Entrepreneur, Pastor and Political Candidate.”
The small town billboard caught fire online, with “Make America White Again,” trending on Twitter and Facebook nationwide. While Tyler is running as an independent, not a Republican, many have criticized the party on social media, saying its support of Trump has led to candidates like Tyler. Others have sarcastically praised Tyler for being honest about his beliefs.
The sign was taken down Tuesday.
Here’s what you need to know about Tyler:
1. Tyler Says He Has No Hatred in His Heart for ‘People of Color’
Rick Tyler told WSMV-TV he does not have any hate in his heart for”people of color.”
Tyler cited Donald Trump in a statement on his website, ricktylerforcongress.com, which is filled with writings and speeches with titles like “White Flight,” “White Fright,” “The Color of Crime,” “White Genocide” and “An Intelligent Conversation About Race.”
“Clearly we are in uncharted waters, in that there has never been a candidacy like this in modern political history. Of great significance, as well, is the reality of the Trump phenomenon and the manner in which he has loosened up the overall spectrum of political discourse,” Tyler wrote on the site, which has been offline since the story went viral.
He explained the billboard in a section of his website entitled “The Billboard Strategy”:
Outdoor advertising is effective…otherwise, billboard signs wouldn’t be ubiquitous throughout the nation. There is even a program underway in the billboard industry in which the word UBIQUITOUS (which means pervasive and omnipresent) is being placed on signs in giant black letters. Yes…this form of advertising is unique and has potential for noteworthy results. With its towering and massive stature, the billboard sign is difficult to ignore and its message comes across as authoritative and influential.
For these reasons we are confident that a widespread and creative billboard advertising game plan could go a long way toward making the Rick Tyler For Congress candidacy both viable and a force to be reckoned with. Clearly…we are in uncharted waters, in that there has never been a candidacy like this in modern political history. Of great significance, as well, is the reality of the Trump phenomenon and the manner in which he has loosened up the overall spectrum of political discourse.
Very soon the Rick Tyler For Congress campaign will put up a new billboard on Highway 411 in Polk County, Tennessee that could very well make a major splash.
Tyler also explained why he is using the “Make America White Again” phrase:
The Make America White Again billboard advertisement will cut to the very core and marrow of what plagues us as a nation. As Anne Coulter so effectively elucidates in her book, Adios America, the overhaul of America’s immigration law in the 1960’s has placed us on an inevitable course of demise and destruction. Yes…the cunning globalist/Marxist social engineers have succeeded in destroying that great bulwark against statist tyranny…the white American super majority. Without its expedited restoration little hope remains for the nation as a whole.
2. He Failed in His Run for Senate in 2014 & Is One of 3 Independents Running for the 3rd District Seat
The Congressional race is not Tyler’s first foray into politics. He ran for the U.S. Senate as an independent candidate in 2014, receiving 5,759 votes, or 0.4 percent, in a race against 12 opponents that was won by Republican incumbent Senator Lamar Alexander, according to U.S. House Clerk election results.
Tyler is one of several candidates in the 3rd Congressional race, according to Ballotpedia. The seat is held by Republican Charles Fleischmann, who faces Allan Levene and Geoffery Suhmer Smith in an upcoming primary. Three Democrats, Michael Freidman, George Ryan Love and Melody Shekari, are vying for their party’s nomination.
Along with Tyler, two other independents are in the race, Topher Kersting and Cassandra Mitchell.
Tyler says on his Facebook page that he is a Baby Boomer born in Miami to parents who were originally from Tennessee.
“For more than 35 years Rick has made it his business to seek out the often disguised truth regarding history, politics, religion, economics, etc.,” Tyler’s Facebook page says. “Very early on in his diligent quest for truth, Rick came to understand that a powerful, supernatural intelligence exercises monumental influence and controlling power in the affairs of men. None other than Satan himself sits at the apex of this control grid. By appealing to and exploiting the sinful weaknesses of man, Satan is able to maintain a steady and progressive march toward his ultimate goals…chief among them being the abject domination and enslavement of mankind.”
Tyler, who calls himself a Christian pastor, says on his Facebook page:
From the outset of his Christian life and activism, Rick has sought to enlighten people relative to the schemes, machinations and methods of the devil and those who do his bidding. In the early days it was hard to get many people to incline their ear toward hard core truth. At present, given the flagrant tactics being routinely employed by the forces of evil, it is far easier to gain acknowledgement concerning the wiles and agenda of Satan and his accomplices. Now, however, it is common for people to be paralyzed with fear…even though they realize and understand that calamitous circumstances are just over the horizon.
Rick Tyler remains devoted to the solemn duty to sound the alarm of impending danger. At the very least he is determined to function in like manner as the watchman described in Ezekiel 33. Beyond that function, he yearns to be like unto those referenced in Hebrews 11 who actually “subdued kingdoms.” The power of truth is not to be underestimated. Rick Tyler has unwavering faith, belief and confidence in the power and promises of the God of Scripture. He understands that the hope and protection of those desirous of serving God are intricately linked to the exhibition of humility and repentance toward a righteous and just God.
3. He Is the Owner of a Restaurant & Many Have Called for a Boycott of the Business
Along with outrage on Twitter and Facbeook, Rick Tyler is facing calls at home for a boycott of his restaurant, Whitewater Grill, which is located in Ocoee, Tennessee.
“I am so enraged I can barely express myself without copious amounts of profanity. This disgusting bunch of bigotry was erected about 20 minutes from our house. The person listed, Mr. Rick Tyler, is a local business owner,” Amy Hines Woody wrote on Facebook. “He owns/runs the Whitewater Grill in Ocoee, TN. Please, if you are the decent and loving people I know you to be, boycott this business. We’ve already complained to the authorities (and so have MANY others). People of ALL colors have died in defense of our country and this reprehensible display is not MY America.”
The Kiwanis Club of Ocoee, says it will never meet at the Whitewater Grill again.
“Due to recent statements and overtly racist billboards by the principal owner of the Whitewater Grill in Ocoee and himself a declared Independent candidate for Congress, the Kiwanis Club of Ocoee will never meet there again,” the club wrote on Facebook. “We are a civic club of inclusion and not exclusion and find these statements repugnant. As a citizen of Polk County, I, Chris Newton, will never personally be back to this establishment.
4. Tyler Also Has Billboard Designs Against Muslim Immigration, Gay Marriage & Interracial Marriage
The “Make America White Again” billboard is not the only one that Tyler plans to place around Polk County. He has other designs, which are against Muslim immigration, gay marriage and interracial marriage. You can see some of those designs below:
“We ask you to prayerfully consider putting meaningful financial support behind this brazen and determined crusade for truth,” he says on his website.
5. He Says He Welcomes the Outrage the Billboard Has Caused & Plans to Respond With the ‘Application of Truth’
Tyler told WSMV-TV he isn’t fearful of the backlash he has received online and in the community.
“I don’t fear it,” he told the news station. “I welcome it, and I will respond with the application of truth.”
While the Nasvhille news station said it has received many calls against the billboard, Tyler says he thinks most in Polk County support his views.
“I respect their right to have an opinion. I believe the majority of the people in the county like it,” he said. “I saw people taking pictures beside it right after I posted it.”