AUSTIN, Texas (CIRCA via KEYE) — A 7-year-old boy is facing backlash after some neighbors in his northwest Austin, Texas, community took offense to a hot chocolate stand he started to raise money for President Donald Trump's proposed border wall.
The boy's parents, Shane and Jennifer Stevens, say their son Benton decided he wanted to start the fundraiser after attending the inauguration and watching the State of the Union address earlier this month.
The Stevens are members of the Republican National Convention and call themselves conservatives. They said that the news coverage they watch and the conversation at the dinner table have obviously rubbed off on Benton.
"I think it's important that (our children) know what's going on in the world, where we stand, what we believe in," said Jennifer.
They say he begged them to set up a hot chocolate stand to raise the money for the wall, and over this past weekend, he set up shop at a strip mall.
"Every day, he would get off the bus and say, 'Mom can we go do my stand?" Jennifer said.
Benton says he has been ridiculed for his political beliefs in the past, including at Trump's inauguration, which he attended with his family. He says three women in pink hats made fun of his "Make America Great Again" hat.
Jennifer said she never encouraged her son to get political.
"They should be kids," she said. "I just happen to have very mature 7-year-old who wants to be involved in this. That's what he wants to do. I have a 10-year-old who doesn't."
While he was selling the cocoa, he says one man called him "little Hitler."
"Some people were mad and calling me a 'little Hitler' and stuff, and some people were really happy," the boy said.
His dad said he is using the experience as a teaching tool for his children.
"If he's going to do it, he needs to learn that there's going to be a little backlash," Shane said. "But I just wish (the critics) would do it in a little more respectful, adult-like manner."
Benton said he wanted to raise the money for the wall and mail it to Trump, or go to Washington and give him the money in person "so that the illegal immigrants can't get into our town illegally."
Benton raised nearly $1,400 in two days.
This Texas landowner is willing to give up some of his property for the border wall
Why President Trump didn't discuss cannabis during the State of the Union
What's Pelosi reading? What's up with Trump's tie? Twitter's take on the State of the Union