As soon as one Texas university’s acclaimed dance team announced their Inauguration Day parade performance for President-Elect Donald Trump on January 20, social justice warriors pounced all over the troupe for accepting the invitation.
The Texas State University Strutters made the December 21 announcement on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: “The Strutters cannot wait for this once in a lifetime performance opportunity coming up in the next few weeks.”
Instead of congratulations, the news triggered a frenzy of criticism. On Facebook, one woman decried: “The university is showing support to a racist and misogynistic man who was elected to be our president. He has proven that he has no respect for women, people of color, people with disabilities, and people of the LGBTQ community.” This remark received at least 216 likes out of 644 reactions on the thread.
“It’s sickening and unAmerican [sic] to support ‘its’ inauguration in any way, shape or form,” wrote an out-of-state Facebooker while a north Texas woman voiced: “Try not to get grabbed by the p*ssy while showing your asses for the Sexual Predator in Chief.”
The Austin American-Statesman reported initial responses to the announcement were met with mixed reactions. They also said the dance team blocked users who accused them of supporting “a bigot.”
Welp, the Texas State strutters blocked me because I said they support a bigot by performing at Trump’s inauguration
— Cody (@ljisback) December 22, 2016
Reportedly, the Strutters disabled their Twitter account as the attacks against them escalated but the vitriolic cyber-chat continued. A woman who identified as a Texas State University professor in her Twitter profile responded to a tweet that linked to an Associated Press article about Strutter social media backlash, then declared the dance team’s participation a “betrayal of our diverse student body” and “NOT an honor.”
So sorry to see these plans, a betrayal of our diverse student body. Hope they’re not required to perform for this event-NOT an honor. https://t.co/nIQZNzEGlz
— RebeccaBell-Metereau (@voterebecca) December 27, 2016
A Twitter user reacted:
— Ready 4 2016 (@sandiek64) December 31, 2016
One male tweeter mocked the precision dance group, finding it “hilarious that the Texas State Strutters think this Trump performance is some accomplishment.” He added: “D.C. schools aren’t even playing lol.”
Then, there was this new year’s greeting:
Happy New Year to everyone except the Texas State Strutters.
— jalen (@_twojays) January 1, 2017
One Facebooker went full SJW, slamming the Strutters and their upcoming performance as “opportunistic ambition at the expense of tens of thousands of marginalized students and alumni who are afraid of what this presidency means.”
In November, roughly 800 students on the Texas State University campus protested Trump’s presidential win. They petitioned for “sanctuary” status in response to Trump’s campaign promises to build a wall on the southern border and ban sanctuary cities. The petitioners also alleged hate speech on campus from Trump supporters, Breitbart Texas reported.
The Strutters also received their share of online congratulations and support. A man named Gary Hajdasz plainly said: “Don’t listen to these ignorant liberal snowflakes that support socialism and know nothing about being true Americans. Bunch of retards have nothing better to do with their lives but the make up crap about Trump.”
Former Strutter dancers chimed in, too. Linda Steele felt pride the troupe was performing in a parade that “honors the Presidency, democracy, and the United States;” Kathy LaRos Knezeak advised they rise above the “negativity” and divisive comments to “perform your hearts out.”
On Tuesday, words of encouragement came from the Trump Inaugural Committee:
— Trump Inauguration (@TrumpInaugural) January 3, 2017
In a press release, the Presidential Inaugural Committee indicated 8,000-plus parade participants will represent 40 organizations, including high schools and university marching bands, equestrian corps, first responders, and veterans groups. Texas will also be represented on the parade route by the College Station dance team, the Lil Wranglers, and Fort Hood’s 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment (HCD).
Formed in 1960, the Strutters were the first dance team organized on any major Texas university campus. Their appearances include the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and a 1976 America’s Bicentennial commercial for Coca-Cola. The Trump inaugural parade marks the the group’s third performance at a U.S. presidential inauguration, following presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.
The Houston Chronicle reported the Strutters applied for consideration to perform in the inaugural parade in early 2016 before Trump was even the Republican presidential nominee.
Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.