The Lebanon, Mason and Monroe Railroad released a statement indicating the reasons for cancellation of a Trump Train fund-raising event planned by Warren County Republicans.
“After the Republican Women of Warren County’s marketing announced the event as a ‘Trump Train’, and after much consideration by our management team, LM&M Railroad decided to disassociate ourselves from this event due to our 501c(3) status. Because of this status, and as outlined by the IRS, The LM&M Railroad cannot be connected to an event supporting any political candidate or politician. The LM&M Railroad is not affiliated with any political party,” said the statement, issued Tuesday after reports about the cancellation were published.
“The Republican Women of Warren County contacted The LM&M Railroad about renting our location and one of our trains for an event. This event was to be paid for, and hosted by, the Republican Women of Warren County. There was to be no connection to LM&M Railroad beyond being the event location and the train charter.”
On Tuesday, GOP leaders said the event was canceled because of alleged threats made against “event participants.”
On Oct. 5, the party was offering three rides, 300 passengers per ride, for $15 to $30 a ticket, on trains operated by the Lebanon-based railroad.
“The Warren County Republican Party understands that these event participants are acting in the interest of protecting their operations, employees, and customers. However, without their participation, the event cannot be held,” said a Facebook post by the Republican Women of Warren County on Tuesday.
The post, identical to one issued by the Warren County Republican Party, referred questions to party chairman Jeff Monroe, who declined to comment on the target of the threats or about what they involved.
“We just felt like it was going to be best and just cancel the event. We’ll start over with something else,” he said in a phone interview.
Monroe also issued a written statement, indicating a large turnout was expected.
“It’s a shame that politics has gotten to the point where people believe it’s OK to harass businesses because of their customers’ political viewpoints,” he said in the statement.
Warren County Auditor Matt Nolan said he understood the threats were for an economic boycott of the train company.
Bethe Goldenfield, chairman of the Warren County Democratic Party, said she was investigating whether the train company, a 501c3, could hold such an event. However, she said she hadn’t contacted them yet and didn’t know the source of the alleged “threats.”
“I think you have to be very careful about any political affiliation,” she said.
The train-company statement indicated concern about the effect holding the event would have on its non-profit designation and place in the community.
“Instead, we are dedicated to serving our community by providing family-friendly train events focused on the historic Warren County. Any communication we have received regarding this event has been forwarded to The Republican Women of Warren County,” the statement concluded.
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