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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

With a tweet, Mayor Rick Kriseman 'bars' Donald Trump from St. Petersburg



"Tweet of the year," declared several of the thousand-plus Twitter users who shared St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's tongue-in-cheek post Monday night.

"I am hereby barring Donald Trump from entering St. Petersburg until we fully understand the dangerous threat posed by all Trumps," Kriseman tweeted.

About two hours after he posted it, more than 2,000 people had already retweeted it.

Kriseman's jab at GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump played off of Trump's sweeping statement Monday that he would bar all Muslims from entering the U.S.

In a news release, Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

"You make a ridiculous statement, so you answer with a ridiculous statement," Kriseman said. "There are some people who thought I was seriously going to ban Donald Trump from St. Petersburg, and that's obviously not something I would try to do. But his statement was kind of ridiculous, so I thought that it deserved an equal response."

Kriseman's tweet struck a chord, prompting hundreds of replies, many cheering his stance. "US need more politicians like you. Congrats!" one wrote.

Another: "We need a rigorous screening process with 100% accuracy and a 20 ft. high Trump-proof fence around all of St. Petersburg."

"Trump's about 30 yrs too young to be allowed into StP anyway," another person quipped. 

Trump's fans took note, though, and barraged Kriseman's tweet with scornful replies. Kriseman said some people didn't quite grasp his intent.

"What I think makes St. Petersburg a great city and truly a city of opportunity is that we're truly a diverse, tolerant community," he said. "There really isn't a place for narrowmindedness and those kinds of positions."

This wasn't the first time Kriseman poked fun at a conservative figure. When Glenn Beck named St. Petersburg a "city to avoid like the plague" in August because of its supposed lack of religion, Kriseman tweeted that it was "an honor! #ThanksGlenn."

"He clearly has never been here before, because if he had, he would know this is a community that has a lot of faith, and there are some incredible churches and synagogues and mosques in the city," Kriseman said Monday.

Trump's declaration swiftly drew criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.

Trump "has gone from making absurd comments to being downright dangerous with his bombastic rhetoric," tweeted Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina.

Kriseman said he didn't expect his tweet to take off like it had, but that he welcomed the spotlight on St. Petersburg.

"I very quickly had to take my phone out of my pocket because it wouldn't stop vibrating," he said. 

[Last modified: Monday, December 7, 2015 10:48pm]


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