A long-shot candidate for governor in Wisconsin plans to hand out Ku Klux Klan-style hoods to attendees at an annual gathering of state Republicans – a stunt which has been fiercely condemned by both sides of the aisle.
“It’s a Wisconsin Republican Party hat,” Brett Hulsey, a Democrat, told reporters on Thursday. “And people can interpret it any way they want.”
The two-term state representative from Madison showed off a white hood inside the press room at the state Capitol. He said he stitched it together using $1 curtain material and his daughter’s sewing machine.
According to the Associated Press, when questioned about his motives – whether he’s legitimately going to go ahead with it, if he’s trying to be funny or just inflammatory – Hulsey responded, “All of the above.”
Hulsey said he’s calling attention to what he says are “racist” policies by Republicans.
Both Democrats and Republicans alike swiftly denounced his controversial method of addressing the issues.
“We take serious issue with the policies pursued by Republicans that disproportionately affect communities of color, but this type of behavior has no place in the public dialogue,” said State Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate.
Wisconsin GOP executive director Joe Fadness said all voters should be furious over Hulsey’s “reprehensible, vile stunt.”
A campaign spokesman for Mary Burke, the frontrunner in the Democratic primary for governor, also said the actions are “completely unacceptable and totally inappropriate.”
Hulsey has a history of provocative and bizarre antics. Just last week, he threatened to have someone dress up in a chicken suit and show up at one of Burke’s events because, according to him, she’s afraid of facing him in a debate.