Denver Republican Party chairman hears from White House after incident at LGBT pride parade
Author: Ernest Luning - June 20, 2017 - Updated: June 21, 2017
Denver Republican Party Chairman Jake Viano can scratch a big item off his bucket list. On Monday, he received a phone call from the White House to thank him and GOP volunteers for remaining calm during an altercation with a protester at Sunday’s PrideFest Parade in Denver.
“I was really stunned,” Viano told Colorado Politics. “It’s not every day you get a call from the White House.”
Viano said he’d been hearing from people all over the country after news broke that a masked protester had approached Denver Republican volunteers preparing to take part in the LGBT pride parade, yelling obscenities while scattering fliers and attempting to rip a banner featuring a quotation by President Donald Trump off the party’s parade entry.
He wasn’t too surprised to see he’d missed a call from the 202 area code, but when he listened to the voice mail and discovered it was someone named Roz from the White House calling, Viano said with a laugh, “it was a pretty cool feeling.”
It turns out it was Roz Leighton, a White House political aide — she’s a former executive director of the North Dakota Republican Party — and she was calling to convey a message of support from the Trump administration.
“When we spoke, she said, ‘I wanted to thank you for what you did there, for keeping your cool,'” Viano said, sounding like he was still pinching himself. “She said she’ll keep in touch and would be scheduling a call every two weeks or so to make sure we have what we need.”
Viano said with a chuckle that he wasn’t sure what he’d be asking the White House to provide but was giving it some thought.
In the aftermath of the incident, Viano added, he’d also been pondering how divisive politics has become and had come to some conclusions.
“I believe that we can coexist peacefully, that every time somebody doubles down it furthers the political divide, and it’s getting to a dangerous point,” he said. “I firmly believe that Republicans and Democrats equally love their country; we just have different philosophies. We need to work to find commonalities. When I’ve done that on a one-to-one basis, we find we have a lot of commonalities, but too often it turns into screaming matches, which only furthers the move toward black masks.”
Viano paused for a moment and then continued: “We need to approach our fellow Americans as that — our fellow Americans, and not the enemy.”