Christmas tree battle continues at Wisconsin Capitol

By Benjamin Yount | The Center Square Dec 16, 2020

(The Center Square) – The back-and-forth over a Christmas Tree at the Wisconsin Capitol continues. 

Rep. Paul Tittl, R-Manitowoc, took to Facebook Wednesday to say the latest tree that he and Rep. Shae Sortwell, R-Two Rivers, put up has been taken down. 

“Well, last night they took our tree down again, with ornaments and all,” Tittl said Wednesday. 

He and Sortwell have installed two trees in the Capitol rotunda, they say to not only highlight the Christmas season, but to protest against Gov. Tony Evers after the governor cancelled the Capitol’s annual Christmas Tree display. 

“We put the tree up about 5:30 last night, Tittl explained in a Facebook live video. “And by 6:40 this morning it was gone.”

Tittl said he did want to have to put up another tree, but said that someone else may. 

Gov. Evers’ office has said Tittl and Sortwell’s tree could be using unauthorized resources at the Capitol, and is in violation of the state’s policy for protests at the statehouse. 

Sortwell said on Twitter Wednesday that the governor’s office is the one wasting time and money. 

“Well, the governor’s Administration actually wasted taxpayer resources to remove the 100+ year traditional Capitol Christmas tree,” Sortwell tweeted. 

This is not the first battle over the Christmas Tree at the Wisconsin Capitol. Gov. Evers last year renamed the tree a Holiday Tree, and dedicated it to the theme of science. 

Republican lawmakers almost immediately passed a resolution declaring the tree to be a Christmas Tree. 

Gov. Evers said this year’s tree could not be displayed because the Capitol is closed due to the coronavirus, and because the tree may draw a crowd. 

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