ROCHESTER — A city woman has been told she needs to remove a flag showing support for President Donald Trump from the exterior of her apartment on Rochester Housing Authority property.
Kay Keenan, 67, moved to the apartment complex two years ago. An avid Trump fan, she recently purchased her “Trump 2020 Keep America Great” flag from the O’Keefe & Martin Discount Store on Milton Road.
Keenan says she and many other Republicans are afraid to express support for Trump because they find resistance even within their own families. On Wednesday, as she spoke to members of the media about the liberation she felt putting up the flag, Keenan said she is happier than ever to finally be able to express her love for the President and her country.
“I can’t be quiet for another 16 months,” said Keenan, referring to the 2020 elections. “I have to start saying my truth.”
Inside her apartment, Keenan spoke about regaining under the Trump administration the sense of American pride she had as a child.
“He does not tire, and he inspires me so much,” Keenan said. “He stands up to our foes. He stands up to anyone, really. He is the right man for the job, and we need his leadership in our country today.”
Keenan applauds Trump for stepping into North Korea recently and said the most important political issues to her are world leadership, immigration and abortion. Freedom to express religious beliefs matters to her as well.
“To sum up why I love Trump, I can say ‘Merry Christmas.’ I’m such a Christmas person. I have a nativity up, and I just love Christmas so much, and there was a time where I couldn’t find anything that said, ‘Merry Christmas’ in the stores. It all said, ‘Happy Holidays,’” Keenan said.
“When Trump was campaigning, he said, ‘I’m going to bring back ‘Merry Christmas’ and he did,” Keenan said.
Jerry Grossman is the attorney for the Rochester Housing Authority. He said Keenan is not being asked to take down the flag because it is political speech, but rather because it violates the lease agreement all tenants must sign.
Under the agreement, no signs, advertisements, notices, banners, flags or holiday decorations are allowed in common areas without prior approval. Grossman said the RHA has traditionally allowed tenants to hang up the American flag because it is our country’s flag.
Grossman said that such lease clauses are common on private property, but that the RHA is considered public property.
Grossman said Keenan has the right to appeal her case to the executive director and housing manager, who will meet with her to discuss the lease violation. If Keenan loses her appeal and refuses to take down the flag, she could potentially be evicted.
Keenan is hoping the issue with the RHA will be resolved in the next few weeks and that she will be allowed to keep her flag up. She said she is open to having all political views similarly represented in her community because it gets people talking to each other again.
“What’s happened as a result of this is people who are against Trump have come up to me and they have said, ‘We don’t like Trump, but we respect your opinion.’ They would say to keep the flag. I was very surprised to hear that, but this is great. We’re just talking. Me and somebody who are total ends of the spectrum are speaking. We’re just speaking,” Keenan said.