WASHINGTON — Bison offensive guard Jack Albrecht joined his NDSU teammates at the White House Monday, March 4, but President Trump probably didn’t notice the pin he was wearing.
Albrecht, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound junior backup guard, was sporting a pin bearing the Democratic Socialists of America logo.
In a news release late Monday night, the Red River Valley Chapter of the group pointed out that Trump said in his State of the Union address that “America will never be a socialist country.”
“But less than a month later, he already invited a socialist to the White House for a free lunch,” organizer Zac Echola wrote in the release.
Indeed, Trump served the group a fast food lunch while he honored the NDSU team for winning seven national championships in the past eight years in the White House State Dining Room.
Albrecht also tweeted out photos of him wearing the pin from the Washington, D.C., event as well at the Lincoln Memorial.
Echola said that Albrecht is a member of the local group that numbers about 120 people although many others show up at some of their gatherings.
Albrecht is from Rolling Meadows, Ill., and redshirted on the team in 2015. He is in his fourth year in the program.
Echola added in his statement that the state of North Dakota has a century-long history of progressive policies and “socialist” institutions that are “ignored” by pro-Trump Republicans in the state.
North Dakota has a state-owned mill and grain elevator, as well as the only state-owned bank in the U.S. — the Bank of North Dakota. All were created by the populist, socialist-founded Nonpartisan League in the 1910s, a party that was propelled to power by a progressive ballot box rebellion against out-of-state business interests.
“The history of our state, the continued growth of our chapter and Jack Albrecht all show that democratic socialism definitely has a place in North Dakota,” Echola said. “It’s not just for people in Berkeley (Calif.) and Brooklyn (N.Y.)”
When Echola was asked if he thought there would be any feedback from the university on the pin, he said it was a matter of “free speech.”
“It’s not like he was kneeling down or anything,” Echola said in reference to Trump’s objections to NFL football players taking a knee during the national anthem.