DAVENPORT, Iowa, (CNN) — Last year, Ashley Richardson won first place in the tree designing competition. But this year she says her tree has been disqualified.
Richardson says her tree, called “Make Christmas Great Again,” is a tribute to the nation and to first responders. It features a cut-out of President Trump and “Trump 2020” flags.
Executive Director of Quad City Arts Kevin Maynard says those elements break the rules.
“If it would have been any other candidate it would have also been removed,” Maynard said. “We put out a guideline as to what should be available at the festival, one of those being no politicians.”
Richardson says there was no policy before her tree went up earlier this week. She says when she asked festival leaders for that policy in writing, they couldn’t provide it.
“Admittedly it could have been more clear in the design material,” Maynard said.
Maynard says the policy covers logos and the like and political messages aren’t allowed at festival events.
“We just believe that Festival of Trees is not the space for it,” he said. “It’s a time that people can take a break from all of the politicians.”
Maynard says he liked the design, but he says Richardson’s tree crossed the line with its political message.
“We did ask for those elements to be removed. And she decided to remove the tree in its entirety instead,” he said.
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