Last week, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported that Vice President Dick Cheney was planning to go hunting in upstate New York over the weekend. The paper reported that Cheney would “head to the Clove Valley Rod & Gun Club in LaGrangeville” on Monday morning.
Yesterday, Cheney spent eight hours hunting at the “secluded Hudson Valley gun club where well-heeled enthusiasts shoot ducks and pheasants.” It was his second visit to the club; the previous trip was in fall 2001.
Nobody got shot, but Vice President Cheney still fired up controversy Monday when he went hunting at a private club that hangs the Confederate flag.
A Daily News photographer captured the 3-by-5 foot Dixie flag affixed to a door in the garage of the Clove Valley Gun and Rod Club in upstate Union Vale, N.Y.
Cheney spokeswoman Megan Mitchell said, “No one in our office was aware there was such a flag. The vice president did not see a flag, nor did anyone on his staff traveling with him in New York.” The Daily News photographer who took the picture, Howard Simmons, said “the flag was plainly viewable in the strong sunlight streaming toward the garage”, but he also “said it is conceivable the garage door could have been closed when the vice president and his guests were there.”
The Daily News reports that officials with the Clove Valley Rod & Gun Club belligerently refused to respond to the controversy:
Club officials threatened a reporter with arrest when he sought comment.
The Confederate flag has historically been used by Republican operatives to galvanize conservative activists. While Cheney’s office says it did not see the flag, it has yet to condemn the club for hanging the divisive symbol of hate.