Staff report

The day after the Nov. 3 election, Shaun Thompson—owner of the Elmhurst Cigar House in downtown Elmhurst—put a sign on the window of his business’s front door that’s sure to draw attention in an era in which the country is divided politically.

The orange, balloon-shaped sign, which is still posted, says: “Biden voters keep out!”

CBS Channel 2 News in Chicago ran a segment on Thompson, the Cigar House, the sign—and the reaction to it—on its Jan. 9 evening newscast.

Those whom Channel 2 interviewed outside of the Cigar House had these reactions when asked about the sign:

“A little surprising, I guess.”

“I just find it really, truly appalling.”

“Pretty much that I would like to stay out. I would not go in.”

“I find that offensive.”

“I find it horrible.”

One woman, who identified herself as a Donald Trump supporter, said, “If somebody put ‘Trump supporters stay out,’ I wouldn’t find that a very kind thing to put (out).”

Recently interviewed by the Independent, Thompson says their reactions are fine with him. He said he doesn’t want their business, anyway.

When asked how he would react if a business in Elmhurst put up a sign saying, “Trump supporters keep out,” Thompson replied, “They would do me a favor. I don’t want to spend my money with them, and I don’t want them to spend money with me. Let me be very clear: I don’t want to profit from people that have condescending attitudes and vehemently stand opposed to freedom, capitalism and liberty that I stand for. I don’t want their money.”

He added that posting the sign “is not a Donald Trump thing.”

“The policies that are embraced by the modern-day Democrat are policies of force on people that may not politically agree with their agenda,” said Thompson, who’s owned the store for around six years. “And their agenda is not the personal freedom, capitalism and the entrepreneurial spirit that I enjoy, that my family came to this country for, and that our veterans have fought and died for.

“The sign is meant for anybody who voted for tyranny over freedom. That includes Republicans. I don’t want Mitt Romney or Adam Kinzinger in here, either.

“To me, this [sign] is something that I put [up] as a statement to do, really, the socialists and the Marxists that make up the Democrat party a favor. I wanted to let them know, ‘Don’t give me your money. I find your agenda offensive, condescending and totalitarian.’”

CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said in the Channel 2 report that the sign Thompson has at his store is a form of protected speech for the private business owner.

“There’s nothing in any antidiscrimination law—federal, state or local—that prohibits you from expressing your political beliefs, which is obviously what this store is doing,” Miller said.

Critics and threats

Since the Channel 2 segment aired, Thompson said he and employees at the store have been criticized and threatened—including death threats and threats of violence. These threats have come through the mail, been posted on social media or have been fielded on the phone by store employees.

“I have a 75-year-old relative, a woman who works at the store,” he said. “They call up and they call her a [four-letter expletive that begins with the letter c] and they threaten her physically. Numerous letters. ‘I will be visited. They are going to come and shut me down.’ And I welcome them.

“Let them know they don’t scare me or intimidate me. Ironically, I have the people who practice the philosophies and politics of Nazis calling me a Nazi.”

Is Thompson concerned that continuing to display the sign is going to hurt business, or that his store may be picketed?

“I could care less if it hurts my business,” he said. “The policies that will be implemented by the fascistic, neo-Marxist philosophy of the modern-day Democrats are already going to hurt my business. So, I’ll handle it.

“But I want all of the socialists, all of the Marxists, all of the fascists to hate me. I welcome the hate. Every letter, every threat, every name, every slanderous remark [I’ve received] proves my point.”

Supporters

While Thompson has plenty of critics, he noted that he’s received plenty of support on social media, and from people coming into the store to support him. He said business, in fact, has increased.

Among the posts supporting Thompson on the Cigar House’s Facebook page:

“I’ll be glad to order online from you.”

“I love you! I don’t even know you but you are awesome! Stay strong.”

“I support you good sir!!”

“If I smoked cigars I’d be there!!”

“My customers are very loyal,” Thompson said. “They’re wonderful people and the vast majority are from Elmhurst.”

‘I am a classical liberal’

Displaying a sign in the front of your store that tells Biden voters to keep out would lead one to assume that Thompson is a staunch supporter of now-former President Donald Trump.

“Then they don’t know me,” he said.

Thompson insists he is “a classical liberal.”

“I’m an American,” he said. “I support the beliefs and structures of Americanism. And I am a classical liberal. And a capitalist. People have tried to lump me into a certain political camp. The reality is there are no, or very few, classical liberals like myself.

“I have no policy of force. My philosophies don’t want to put anybody into force under any circumstances. And I believe in absolute equality of opportunity across the board. I believe in a flat taxation, and no picking and choosing of winners and losers in government. That is a minority belief in America today.”

Thompson hosts a Sunday evening program on WIND-AM 560 called “The Liberty Hour.” He says Trump had “terrible policies and very good policies.”

“I fought vehemently hard against his economic policies,” Thompson said. “I didn’t agree with ‘Trump-onomics.’ I didn’t agree with trade wars. I loved his philosophy on the military and taking our boys away from actions they should never be involved with. So good and bad like everyone else.”

 

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