LOUISIANA, Mo. (CBS Local) — The Missouri Department of Transportation Northeast District has apologized for editing a photo of a boy who wore a “Trump 2020” shirt and hat to a bridge detonation.
Mitchel Lemons, 13, of Nebo, Illinois, won the opportunity to push the detonator for a controlled explosion to take down two spans on the old Champ Clark Bridge, which spanned across the Mississippi River at Louisiana, Missouri, for 90 years.
Lemons’ name was drawn in a raffle after his father bought him a ticket benefiting local EMS for his son’s birthday.
Following Friday’s detonation, MoDOT posted on social media a photo of Lemons. However, his “Trump 2020” shirt was cropped out and the word “Trump” appeared blurred on his cap.
— KMOV (@KMOV) October 21, 2019
Comments such as “Shame on you MoDOT!” and “absolutely ridiculous” were posted under the original photo, CBS affiliate KMOV reported.
“We respect all individuals’ choice and edited the picture because many of the comments were detracting from the intent of the post which is to celebrate this young man’s excitement to have an opportunity of a lifetime,” MoDOT wrote in response to a comment.
Hours later, MoDOT issued an apology and posted the original picture.
“We apologize for the error in judgment in editing this photo. Here is the original post and photo,” the Facebook post said.
Mitchel’s father said his son was “kind of upset” about the edit.
“It was his decision,” said Steve Lemons told KSDK. “[Mitchel] wanted to wear the hat with the shirt. They should have left him alone. It’s his freedom of speech or whatever you want to call it.”