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‘Anything but Trump’: State legislators call to rename undeveloped New York park

Donald Trump makes a point during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. AP Photo/John Locher

ALBANY, N.Y. – An undeveloped, languishing New York state park named after Donald Trump should be renamed, two state legislators said Thursday, citing what they say are discriminatory proposals from the Republican presidential candidate.

Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assemblyman Charles Lavine, both Democrats, said they will introduce legislation they’re calling the “Anything but Trump Act” and want Gov. Andrew Cuomo to remove signs for the 440-acre site in Westchester County. The legislation comes after Trump proposed banning Muslim immigrants from the U.S.

Trump donated the land to the state in 2006 after plans for a golf course fell through. Budget cuts prompted the state to close the park in 2010, though signs for it remain.

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Lavine, of Long Island, suggests the state rename the park for Peter Salem, a Muslim Revolutionary War soldier from Massachusetts who fought in battles in New York state. Other suggestions include folk singer and activist Pete Seeger.

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“The rhetoric and discriminatory proposals we’ve seen from Mr. Trump don’t belong in the presidential election, and don’t belong in New York state parks,” said Squadron, of Brooklyn. “He has dishonoured the state, and should not be honoured with a state park named for him.”

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A spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign responded by calling the park “a $100 million gift to the state.”

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“Mr. Trump is the front-runner for president of the United States of the Republican Party,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks said. “He is a proud resident of New York who employs thousands of people. The state cannot remove his name.”

Hicks also provided a statement from Trump in which he said, “If they want, they can give me the land back.”

A spokesman for Cuomo declined to comment on the matter. On Monday, the Democratic governor said Trump’s comments and his proposal to ban Muslim immigration do a “disservice” to the country and could actually encourage terrorist recruitment efforts.

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“He is fanning the flames of hate,” Cuomo said on CNN. “One billion Muslims were just alienated with one sentence. At this point we don’t need more Muslim enemies. We need more Muslim allies.”

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