U.S. Rep. Jim Banks has been both commended and disparaged on Twitter for writing that a stadium crowd cheering President Donald Trump at a University of Alabama football game was “in real America.”
Banks' tweet Saturday linked to a nearly minute-long video of people applauding a video-screen image of Trump, who attended that day's game in Tuscaloosa between Alabama and Louisiana State University.
“Incredible reception for our President @realDonaldTrump in real America,” wrote Banks, R-3rd.
In the 24 hours after it was posted, the tweet by the northeastern Indiana congressman generated more than 700 “likes” and nearly 200 retweets, the social media equivalent of an endorsement for Banks and Trump.
But most of the roughly 100 people who replied online to Banks' message criticized him for suggesting that only communities that support Trump are “real America.” Here is a sampling:
“Please, tell me exactly which part of America isn't 'real America,'” tweeted Kyle Lucas of Chicago.
“What part of the country is not real, Congressman?” tweeted Matt Jennings of Middlebury, Vermont.
“Do I live in real America or fake America?” tweeted @RINOwithHorns of Fort Wayne.
“Jim Banks is implying that Washington D.C. and New York City are not 'America.' These are the two cities where thousands of Americans died on September 11, 2001,” tweeted Craig Skinner of Fort Wayne. Trump was booed by spectators at recent sports events he attended in those cities, including a World Series game in Washington.
“Meanwhile I'm just here in fake California pretending to be an American citizen,” tweeted @JaneAusten1813.
Some people contended in their tweets that Banks was trying to endear himself to Trump.
The Journal Gazette asked Banks' spokesman to elaborate Sunday on the tweet.
“The inside-the-beltway establishment, sometimes referred to as the 'Swamp,' hate Donald Trump because he is an outsider who exposes them and disrupts their gravy train. That's why they booed him in DC at the World Series,” Mitchell Hailstone, Banks' communications director, said in an email.
“Outside the DC bubble, sometimes referred to as 'real America,' people appreciate that Donald Trump fights for them against the insiders. That's what we saw during the Alabama football game,” Hailstone said.
Top-ranked LSU defeated second-ranked Alabama by a score of 46-41. When LSU led 33-13, John Riley of Fishers replied to Banks' tweet by writing, “The gods were angered.”