The custom of naming important landmarks and structures after important figures in American history is nothing new, but in recent years, it has unfortunately become the stuff of bitter controversy. However, a project under consideration in America’s heartland may succeed in sidestepping such conflict.
On Thursday, the Republican-led Oklahoma House approved a bill that would, among other things, name a 20-mile portion of U.S. 287 after former President Donald Trump, as The Oklahoman reported.
GOP members of the chamber added the stipulation to a broader highway and bridge bill that usually includes provisions meant to honor particularly noteworthy Oklahomans. The portion of road designated to memorialize the achievements of Trump would run between Boise City to the state’s border with Texas, and it would include signage with the highway’s new name.
Though Democrats in the state House attempted to pull the the language regarding Trump out of the legislation, Republicans pushed it through anyhow, as the Washington Examiner noted. Rep. Regina Goodwin of Tulsa attempted to offer an amendment to the bill to eliminate the Trump-specific honor, but did not succeed.
This is not the first time Oklahoma lawmakers have endeavored to pay tribute to the 45th president in this way. Back in 2019, two state senators proposed renaming a section of the famed Route 66 after Trump, though bipartisan objection about doing so while the honoree was still in office won the day, as The Oklahoman added.
A Republican lawmaker in Ohio is hoping to honor the former president in a similar manner, introducing in his state legislature last week a bill that would change the name of Mosquito Lake State Park to Donald J. Trump State Park, according to The Hill. Rep. Mike Loychik (R ) explained the move, saying, “I witnessed the unprecedented and astounding support that President Trump received from my constituents across the 63rd District and Mosquito Lake Park.”
Despite the longstanding tradition of naming important places after former presidents, Democrats at state and federal levels have taken it upon themselves to fight any effort to pay tribute to Trump. Back in January, Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA) introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress referred to as the “No Glory for Hate Act,” which would prevent the naming of any federal monument, symbol, statute, land, or building after any president who has been impeached twice, as GovTrack notes.
Though the measure does not mention Trump specifically by name, the language pertaining to two impeachments was clearly designed to single him out for scorn, since he is the only president – thus far – to have such a history. Citing the Capitol unrest on Jan. 6 in support of her proposal, Sánchez said, “Even though Trump is no longer in office, he should still be held accountable for his actions and the taxpayers should not foot the bill for his future actions,” adding:
I can’t imagine sending students in Southern California – or anywhere in America – to a school named in honor of a traitorous president.
Considering the large and growing number of landmarks in this country – including educational institutions – bearing the name of former President Barack H. Obama, a fair number Americans would likely argue that we already do precisely that.