The controversial history of Dulles, the airport Republicans want to name after Trump

The controversial history of Dulles, the airport Republicans want to name after Trump
Is there going to be a Donald J. Trump International Airport?
Scripps News / VideoElephant

It’s been announced that House Republican lawmakers are pushing for the Washington Dulles International Airport to be renamed after Donald Trump – and there's already controversy surrounding the history of the airport.

The plan was put forward by the party’s chief deputy whip in the House, Rep Guy Rechenthaler of Pennsylvania, last week, with the aim of naming it “Donald J Trump International Airport”.

Six other Republican lawmakers have sponsored the bill so far, but the chances of the bill becoming law are very slim given the Democrat majority in the Senate.

“In my lifetime, our nation has never been greater than under the leadership of President Donald J Trump,” Reschenthaler told Fox News Digital.

“As millions of domestic and international travellers fly through the airport, there is no better symbol of freedom, prosperity and strength than hearing ‘Welcome to Trump International Airport’ as they land on American soil.”

The idea hasn’t gone down well with everyone, as you’d imagine. But the origin of the airport was controversial in itself, long before the idea of naming it after Trump was first introduced.


The decision to construct Dulles was announced by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in January 1958, and it had a pretty devastating impact on the families who had made their homes there.

The area now dominated by the airport in Willard, Virginia had its roots as a predominantly Black, rural agricultural community.

However, all 87 landowners in the area were displaced in 1958 after the government sent condemnation letters without prior warning.

Despite resistance in the form of a citizens association and individual legal action from land owners, the government bulldozed 300 buildings and paid owners around $500 an acre [via The Washington Post].

Shiloh Church had been a hub for the community of Willard. However, the church received $4,000 and the church graveyard was moved to the nearby area of Conklin.

There’s also the name itself – Dulles airport is named after John Foster Dulles, who was United States Secretary of State under President Eisenhower. Dulles has a controversial legacy due to his role in US involvement in the Vietnam War.

One of Foster's biographers, Stephen Kinzer, criticised him over the war by saying: "John Foster Dulles was more responsible for the U S involvement in Vietnam than any single individual… we could have avoided the entire American involvement in Vietnam absent Foster's decisions at the Geneva conference in 1954."

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