Mobile Chief of Staff Apologizes for Tree at Trump Rally

Dec 19, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump at a rally at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Ala., Dec. 17.
Credit Evan Vucci / AP

The chief of staff to Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson is apologizing for his role in having a cedar tree cut down at a public park and used as a prop for President-elect Donald Trump’s rally last weekend.

Colby Cooper, who has served as Stimpson’s chief of staff since 2013, says he became “overzealous” in making sure every detail was covered for the weekend’s rally.

The city placed a large cedar tree covered with ornaments in front of the scoreboard at Ladd-Peebles Stadium to serve as a backdrop for the President-elect’s speech. The tree was removed from Public Safety Memorial Park in midtown Mobile, and the mayor’s office was soon flooded with complaints from offended Mobile residents.

Cooper’s statement says that, going forward, he will be “more sensitive to the spectrum of concerns regarding trees.” The city says they plan to re-purpose the tree for another use, but it’s unclear what that will be.