A Wisconsin native living in New York City is offering Trump supporters from his home state the opportunity to cash in on a free weekend trip to the Big Apple.
Dan Backhaus, who grew up in West Bend, Wis., extended the invitation in a Facebook post Sunday, offering free room and board to any willing Wisconsinite who backs President Donald Trump.
“I’d like to invite any Wisconsinite who supports Trump to come spend a free weekend with me, my girlfriend and my dog Megabite in Elmhurst, Queens,” Backhaus wrote. “If anyone should support Trump and fear terrorism, Muslims and refugees, it’s me. I’m a 40 year old, non-college educated white male from the reddest county in Wisconsin.”
He later amended the post to note that air travel would also likely be included.
Backhaus, who has lived in New York City since 2003, told Ward Room Tuesday that he came up with the idea while protesting at New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport Saturday in response to President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration.
After joining a pair of protests this month, Backhaus said he was looking for a more “practical” response to Trump’s policies. The Facebook invitation fit the bill.
“New York City can be a very intimidating place, which is why I thought that the offer made sense,” he said. “Come to these places that might be scary to you with someone who can talk to you about Wisconsin."
Backhaus said the response to his offer has been overwhelming.
“I’ve gotten a bunch of emails actually,” Backhaus said. “Very touching, heartfelt emails from people.”
“No negative response from either side, which is great. I’ve had a few snarky comments from people on Facebook, but kind of the way I handled it, I kind of ended every response with an offer again to have them come out,” he added.
Backhaus said his intention isn’t to “change anyone’s mind in a weekend,” but rather to expose Wisconsin Republicans to a different perspective. Backhaus works five blocks from the World Trade Center, next to a mosque, and his neighborhood in Queens consists mostly of foreign-born residents.
"I can hang out in my neighborhood for a week and not hear english spoken,” he said. “Which is great. I love it. But if you’re for what’s going on right now, at least kind of have the guts to come out and hang out here with these people for a day."
Despite the positive response, Backhaus called the added media attention surrounding his offer “bizarre."
"It’s kind of sad that in 2017, offering to hang out with someone who might not 100 percent agree with you is some type of thing to be praised for,” Backhaus told Ward Room.