Charlie Kirk’s visit to Lincoln brings protesters, reported vandalism

Property damaged after Lancaster County GOP hosted him Saturday

By: - February 27, 2023 12:18 pm

Talking Point USA leader Charlie Kirk addresses a Lincoln crowd at an event hosted by the Lancaster County Republican Party. (Photo courtesy of Lancaster County GOP)

LINCOLN — Lincoln police are investigating a reported vandalism at a Lincoln business after a Saturday visit by conservative provocateur and anti-trans advocate Charlie Kirk that drew protesters.

Shown are screen captures from security footage shared with reporters by the Lancaster County Republican Party from outside of the venue where they had held their event with conservative organizer Charlie Kirk on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Lancaster County GOP)

The Lancaster County Republican Party hosted Kirk at an east Lincoln reception hall, Suite One Eleven. Graffiti was found on a pillar outside the building after Kirk had spoken, a party official said.

The business owner filed a police report about 10 p.m. Saturday that alleges about $150 damage was done with black spray paint on a brick pillar. The message cursed at “Nazis.”

The owner said Tuesday that it will cost much more to clean up the paint. She wouldn’t share how much. She also said she told police the venue has received threatening calls and messages.  

Lancaster County GOP Chairman Samuel Lyon said his organization believes “in peaceful protest and that open dialogue is a critical component of a healthy Republic.” But he criticized the vandalism as a clear “violation of the law.”

Lincoln Police Sgt. Chris Vollmer said Monday no arrests had been made and no tickets issued. But police received footage from a security camera that the county GOP shared with reporters.

Security video appeared to show two people opening the door of the Kirk venue and turning to walk away, then stopping at a column where they grabbed what looked like a can of spray paint.

Vandalism reports often follow Kirk’s events. He leads Turning Point USA, a group rallying young conservatives that attracts money and attention by appealing to the GOP’s populist wing.

Members of the Lancaster County GOP led the push to wrest the Nebraska Republican Party from the former leadership team tied to then-Gov. Pete Ricketts.

This photo from security footage shared by the Lancaster County Republican Party shows one of the two people who had approached the building using something that looks like a spray paint can. A $150 vandalism was reported, police said. (Photo courtesy of Lancaster County GOP)

Kirk has embraced the culture war against policies aimed at making LGBTQ students feel more welcome. His speeches often attract protesters.

Recently, Kirk has touted state-level bills that would outlaw gender-altering care for trans teens and bills requiring trans athletes to compete in school sports with kids who share their sex at birth.

State Sen. Kathleen Kauth of Omaha has proposed bills doing both this year. Legislative Bill 574 would ban treatments for minors, and LB 575 would restrict high school sports to students’ sex assigned at birth.

Opponents of Kauth’s bills have said advocating these changes in law risks harming teens who are already at greater risk of committing suicide than their peers.

Kirk’s critics share videos online of him targeting marginalized groups, including trans people. They point out his organization helped bus people to Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021, rally before the Capitol was stormed.

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Aaron Sanderford
Aaron Sanderford

Political reporter Aaron Sanderford has tackled various news roles in his 20-plus year career. He has reported on politics, crime, courts, government and business for the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal-Star. He also worked as an assignment editor and editorial writer. He was an investigative reporter at KMTV.