Prairie library worker: Republican candidate Van Orden was irate over gay books display

Van Orden, running for 3rd District, says he objected to historical inaccuracies about GOP

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. (AP) — A staffer at a southwestern Wisconsin library says Republican congressional candidate Derrick Van Orden threatened and intimidated her over a gay pride display.

Derrick Van OrdenPrairie du Chien Memorial Library page Kerrigan Trautsch told the La Crosse Tribune that Van Orden came into the library on June 17 and complained loudly about a display of books in the children’s section that address homosexuality in honor of Pride Month.

Van Orden was angry and said the books offended him, Trautsch said. He demanded to know who set up the display so he could teach them a lesson, she said.

Van Orden, who is running for Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District that includes La Crosse, then got a library card and checked out every book from the display except for one a patron was reading, Trautsch said.

Van Orden issued the following statement in response to Trautsch’s comments:

“I unequivocally support equal rights for all Americans. This of course includes our fellow citizens who are members of the LGBTQ+ community. It is 2021 and this should not have to be stated but there are people who continue to divide us as Americans for political purposes. I will not allow them to further degrade the relationships we have as citizens.

“The complaint I filed with the Prairie du Chien public library was due to historical inaccuracies in a featured book that inaccurately painted Republicans as not inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. The full copy of my complaint is available at the Prairie du Chien Library, please contact them directly.”