A 7-year-old from Texas was so impressed by President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address earlier this year that he decided to help raise funds for the border wall.
Benton Stevens has so far raised $22,000 toward the construction of the border wall between the United States and Mexico, and it all started with a modest business venture: selling hot drinks. The border wall has been a divisive issue and evokes passionate reasoning from both opposers and supporters of the project. So what about the wall piqued the young boy’s interest?
Benton’s mother, Jennifer, told Fox 35 that her son devised his fundraising scheme after the president stated in his address that we need to protect our country. “Walls work,” were the president’s precise words, “and walls save lives.” Benton decided “right then and there that he wanted to help the President build the wall,” Jennifer said, adding in a phone interview with KXAN that “of course he supports Trump, because we do.”
Once the 7-year-old’s beverage-selling plan was devised, there was no holding him back. After a little negotiation with his parents, Jennifer and Shane, who are both members of the Republican National Committee, Benton set up his hot chocolate stand in February of 2019. He painted bold signs and even filled bowls with differently sized marshmallows branded “Nancy Pelosi” and “Beto.” It got people talking.
Jennifer admitted that Benton’s fundraiser wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms. Some neighbors lauded the young boy’s efforts while others voiced their disapproval.
“Kids getting out, showing a little freedom of speech, there’s nothing wrong with that,” local supporter Brian Hafer told KXAN, while another interviewee had a different perspective: “When you’re 7 years old, [it’s] probably not your own opinion,” he said. “So it’s a little bit aggressive.”
However, according to Jennifer, Benton initially received more support than opposition. “The neighbors against it were pretty harsh,” the mom continued, “calling him names, telling Shane and I that we were teaching our son to hate, calling us racist.” Benton was even referred to as “Little Hitler” by one affronted neighbor, but the family’s spirits were not crushed.
Love American entrepreneurship. Well done buddy!
Benton Stevens of Austin sells hot chocolate for border wall money https://t.co/ELPYSXy5Xp
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 21, 2019
Jennifer intimated that Benton’s fundraising efforts are “not political,” despite the cause. “To him,” she said, “he is supporting our president to make our country safer. He doesn’t understand why everybody wouldn’t want to do the same.” Initially thinking that Benton would get “bored and tired of it within a hour,” the mom told Inside Edition, Jennifer was impressed by her son’s tenacity.
Benton certainly has a few notable supporters in the political realm; Donald Trump Jr. tweeted his support for the budding young business brain, saying “Love American entrepreneurship. Well done buddy!” The Stevens family even met with the president himself in May.
Shane shared photos and an excited commentary on Facebook, saying, “One of the greatest honors of my life was meeting President Trump along with Benton and my wife. Our president has been so good to our country,” he continued, “and supportive of Benton.”
Benton now has his own lemonade and hot chocolate brand, and it’s being sold through his very own website. The industrious kid will switch out hot chocolate for lemonade as the summer approaches, and he hopes to raise even more funds for the cause that his family believes in.