The sign rises above a high, neatly trimmed hedge on the corner of Adams and King streets. It slumps forward, its blue material dragging one supporting wooden post toward the hedge. The candidate’s website information is indecipherable, partly obscured by black spray paint and dripping white remains of the name now synonymous with bombast and intolerance: Trump.
The sign was put outside the wood-sided two family house last summer, months before Donald Trump swept the conservative side of Massachusetts on Super Tuesday earlier this month.
“Somebody rude, somebody ignorant who apparently does not like Mr. Trump has destroyed it,” said a woman who answered the phone number for the property’s address and identified herself as a longtime resident of the house. She said she had volunteered her property for the sign, which has become a neighborhood eyesore.
The 79-year-old said she had attended a private party on behalf of Trump last summer and agreed then to have the campaign install the sign later that year.
“Mr. Trump has all the right in the world to have a sign anywhere he wants,” she said. Even with the sign in its current condition, “I’m committed, so I kept it up,” she said.
She comes from a working family of seven, the woman said, and Trump’s business successes appealed to her. “I think they need somebody like him,” she said. “He’s rich. The Kennedys were rich, too.” She feels that Trump is being penalized because of his wealth.
The woman said a neighbor came to her door and thanked her for putting up the sign on behalf of another group of neighbors.
Individuals apparently opposed to Trump, or maybe the sign itself, have written profanities on it and otherwise defaced it over and over again since its installation. A police officer at one point hosed an expletive off the sign, the woman said, but no formal police reports have been filed.
“Whoever’s doing it is knows enough not to go in the yard,” she said, as the location is monitored by camera.
Five calls to the Trump campaign regarding the sign have gone unreturned, the woman said. Her commitment to its presence is resolute, defacement notwithstanding, she said. No one has defaced other campaign signs in the neighborhood, she added.
The Massachusetts director for the Trump campaign, Dean Cavaretta, said the campaign is aware of the damaged sign and is trying to get it replaced. “Demand for signs has been so high, we’re working as fast as we can to find a replacement,” he said. Aside from initial graffiti on the campaign state headquarters property in Littleton, the King Street sign appears to be “an isolated incident,” he said.
“We want the attention to properly go to the people who defaced the sign, infringing on freedom of speech, and not the property owner,” Cavaretta said.
It comes down to private property rights, the woman said, and the sign will remain until the campaign gets around to replacing or removing it. “If it’s bothering somebody, it’s on my property. Why did I leave it up? I want to leave it up here so they know how people are.”
[Editor's Note: The Reporter is withholding the homeowner's name at her request]
[Editor's Note: The sign was removed March 18, 2016.]