PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Thousands of people have lodged complaints over independent Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee's (CHAY'-feez) decision to call a spruce erected at the Statehouse a holiday tree and not a Christmas tree.
Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger says his office has received 3,600 telephone calls of protest since Fox News included his office number in a piece on the tree squabble last week. All but 700 of the calls were from out of state. Ninety-two callers supported Chafee.
Chafee says the word "holiday" is inclusive and reflects Rhode Island's origins as a haven for religious diversity. Previous governors also used the term to describe Statehouse trees.Chafee will host a tree lighting ceremony Tuesday evening. A Republican state lawmaker upset with Chafee's terminology plans to decorate a Christmas tree outside her Statehouse office at the same time.