Patriotism was on full display over the weekend in Austin, Texas, where seven-year-old Benton Stevens set up a hot chocolate stand at a strip mall to support President Donald Trump’s border wall.
Jennifer Stevens, the boy’s mother, said her son wanted to learn more about the wall after watching Trump’s State of the Union address earlier this month.
The young patriot apparently came up with the idea to raise money after his parents explained the meaning of the State of the Union to him, as KXAN in Austin, an NBC affiliate, reported.
Both parents are Republican National Convention members.
“Hot chocolate, $2,” read the signs right in front of the boy’s stand.
“Proceeds help Trump build the wall.”
While most kids might operate a lemonade stand to earn money for candy, video games, or even to help a friend in need, Benton Stevens had something else in mind. https://t.co/opP18hLZIk
— WLS-AM 890 (@wlsam890) February 19, 2019
Jennifer Stevens, of Austin, Texas, said her 7-year-old son, Benton, wanted to learn more about the wall after watching the State of the Union earlier this month. https://t.co/E9XE3KunXJ
— AJC (@ajc) February 19, 2019
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The enterprising boy was also offering free “Beto marshmallows” and 50-cent “Pelosi marshmallows” — named, of course, after former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Both Democrats vehemently oppose the wall.
The young Texas entrepreneur has raised close to $5,000 at this point — but not everyone is lauding his can-do spirit.
Some have tried to vilify the boy in the most egregious way.
“Some people were mad and calling me a ‘little Hitler’ and stuff, and some people were really happy,” the boy told KEYE, the CBS affiliate.
Others are calling him racist on social media.
The boy’s story has gone viral.
“People think he’s brainwashed,” the boy’s mother told KXAN. “Well, of course he supports Trump because we do, and he hears how we talk … Call that brainwashing, but I call it parenting because we instill our values in him.”
The young Trump supporter is not the least bit daunted. A Venmo account is allowing out-of-town supporters to contribute to the fundraising cause.
Now he’s thinking of offering free hot chocolate to people on both political sides of the aisle.
“People who were originally very mean have started apologizing for what they said and sticking up for Benton,”the boy’s father, Shane Stevens, told Fox News. “He [has] close to $5,000 raised now and is thinking about doing a free hot chocolate stand for people from both sides of the debate, since there are so many from both sides sticking up for him.”
Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.