Three recent prosecutions suggest that President Trump’s supporters who have endured abuse and violence for wearing “Make America Great Again” hats will receive justice.
- Police arrested Ryan M. Salvagno, 19, of Somerset, N.J., on February 27. Two days earlier, authorities say, he hounded an unidentified 81-year-old man who wore a MAGA hat. Salvagno allegedly confronted the senior outside a Shop Rite in Franklin Township. Prosecutors say that Salvagno argued with the man about the hat, grabbed it, shoved the octogenarian to the ground (causing minor injuries), and toppled his grocery cart. Salvagno faces assault and harassment charges.
- On February 25, Kenneth Dewayne Jones, 18, knocked a MAGA hat off of a 17-year-old classmate at Santa Fe High School in Edmond, Okla. “Are you proud of what you are wearing?” Jones asked his male victim. Jones forcibly removed the teen’s hat and yanked away his pro-Trump banner. Jones was cited for municipal assault and battery, requiring a $560 fine.
- Zachary Greenberg, 28, was arrested for sucker-punching Hayden Williams, 26, at U.C. Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza, birthplace of the 1960s Free Speech Movement. Williams, a Leadership Institute employee, volunteered to help Turning Point USA register conservative students. On February 19, Williams manned a recruitment table bearing two signs: “Hate Crime Hoaxes Hurt Real Victims” and “This is MAGA Country.”
Cellphone videos show Greenberg, a software engineer, knocking over the table and signs. Greenberg hits Williams once, screams obscenities at him, and then cold-cocks him in the face. His swollen, black eye darkened subsequent TV interviews. Six days after Williams’s beating, he told Fox Business Network anchor Stuart Varney, “I still have ringing in my ears and other symptoms of a concussion.”
University cops arrested Greenberg on March 1. He is accused of felonious assault, bodily injury, and criminal threats, plus misdemeanor vandalism.
“This is the very epitome of fascism,” said Harmeet K. Dhillon, Williams’s attorney. “The use of violence to silence your opponents and making people afraid of expressing their views.”
Alas, these are not isolated incidents. Despite the Left’s relentless moans that Trump supporters are hateful bullies, this type of mayhem flows from Left to Right, as Trump haters force Trump fans to pay for their beliefs with physical injuries. And — think of the children! — they typically involve older people brutalizing younger Americans in MAGA hats.
- February 16: Terry Pierce and his wife were shopping at a Sam’s Club in Bowling Green, Ky., when they encountered James Phillips, 57, of Cottontown, Tenn. He greeted their MAGA hats with his middle finger. Pierce, 52, told WBKO-TV that, after he returned the salutation, Phillips “pulled a .40 caliber out and stuck it in my face, backed up, and said, ‘It’s a good day for you to die.’” Police say Phillips’ Glock had one chambered bullet, and he had two ammunition clips in his pocket. He was jailed and faces wanton endangerment charges.
“I have as much right to wear that hat and support my country and my president as he has not to,” Pierce said. He told Newsweek that this episode inspired some of his Democratic friends to re-register as Republicans because they did not want to “identify with a party that has so much hate.”
- February 15: Rosiane Santos, 41, a Brazilian illegal alien, approached Bryton Turner, 23, as he sampled Casa Vallarta’s Mexican cuisine in Falmouth, Mass. Turner says Santos tried to shove his head into his food. Cellphones captured Santos knocking off Turner’s MAGA hat. According to Police Officer Newton Cardoso, Santos then “began to verbally assault him.” She called him a “motherf***er” for backing President Trump and said he should be barred from a Mexican eatery while wearing a MAGA hat. As Cardoso and three officers arrested Santos, Cardoso says she “hit him [Turner] over the head again in front of us.”
“It’s just a hat,” Turner told WBZ-TV. “I don’t really understand why people can’t just express themselves anymore. Everybody has to get mad.”
Falmouth police charged Santos with assault and disorderly conduct. ICE spokesman John Mohan later said, “Deportation officers with ICE’s Fugitive Operations Team arrested Rosiane Santos, an unlawfully present citizen of Brazil.” She was caught and released. Deportation proceedings await.
- February 11: Gunnar Johnson, 14, and other pupils who supported the March of Dimes earned permission to wear hats at Hidden Oaks Middle School in Palm City, Fla. So Johnson donned his MAGA cap, “to show my pride in Trump America.”
Prosecutors decided Thursday not to press charges against Matheny. According to assistant state attorney Nita Denton, “while the bus aide’s behavior is inappropriate and unprofessional, it doesn’t rise to the criminal level.”
- November 3, 2018: Jonathan Sparks, 34, walked through Tucson, Ariz., on Saturday before the midterm election. He wore his MAGA hat and carried a sign: “Vote Jobs Not Mobs — Vote Republican.” Someone suddenly grabbed Sparks’s hat and the back of his head.
“The assailant had jumped onto my ankle from behind and so I, not knowing my ankle was broken into four pieces, I turned around to grab and take the hat back,” Sparks told KVOA. “Then, I heard the words ‘Hitler,’ ‘Nazi,’ and ‘Trump.’ He was shouting things like that,” Sparks added. “He came over the top of me and over and over again, he hit me.” Sparks required surgery.
“I’m struggling with range of motion in my ankle,” Sparks told iHeartRadio’s Garrett Lewis. Sparks has undergone physical therapy. “I’m off my cane,” he said. “I’m really happy about that.”
Police charged Daniel Zaroes Brito, 42, with aggravated assault and robbery, for stealing Sparks’s MAGA hat. Brito is a former legislative aide to U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva (D., Ariz.). April 9 is Brito’s next court date.
- August 27, 2018: Jo-Ann Butler, 17, was arrested after she snatched a MAGA hat off the head of an unidentified fellow student at Union Mine High School in El Dorado, Calif. “That’s a racist and hateful symbol,” Butler said.
- July 4, 2018: Hunter Richard, 16, and a few friends were minding their own business at a San Antonio Whataburger on America’s 242nd birthday. Richard says that Kino Jimenez, 30, then pulled the teen’s MAGA hat so hard that some of his hair got yanked out. Jimenez then yelled profanities at Richard and said the hat would “go great” in his fireplace. He threw a soft drink in Richard’s face and swiped his hat.
Police arrested Jimenez and charged him with theft.
Hunter Richard told NBC News that he supports President Trump. “And if you don’t, let’s have a conversation about it instead of ripping my hat off.”
- May 14, 2018: Last Mother’s Day, Eugenior Joseph, 22, and his girlfriend’s family visited a Miami Cheesecake Factory. Upon seeing his MAGA hat, the staff abandoned any sense of customer service. The Daily Wire cited patrons who saw some dozen workers abuse Joseph, who is black.
“Her finger was literally on top of his head,” one diner said about a female employee who taunted Joseph and pointed at his headwear. One witness heard an employee say, “I’m going to knock his head in so hard his hat’s going to come off.” One customer claimed that several employees called Joseph a “n*****.”
Joseph said that one worker began “balling his fists, smacking his fists, trying to scare me.” After he returned from the restroom, Joseph said the staffers were “screaming things at me.”
The ferocious bullying drove a little girl to tears, and an old lady had to calm herself with medication.
The Cheesecake Factory says it apologized to its guests. As their May 16, 2018, statement continued: “Two individuals are no longer employed by the company, and we are continuing to investigate.”
So how do leftists explain their hooliganism? Lacking any self-awareness, they hold themselves blameless for this carnage and, instead, identify the MAGA hat itself as the culprit. Much as Toledo, Ohio, voters last month granted Lake Erie the same rights as a human being, the Left has declared the MAGA cap morally culpable for immeasurable evil.
“The red MAGA hat is the new white hood,” actress Alyssa Milano declared on Twitter. She called the headgear “synonymous with white nationalism and racism.” Milano was part of the notorious Covington Catholic High School pile-on, in which liberals excoriated several MAGA-hat-clad teenage boys for threatening a helpless Native American Indian at the Lincoln Memorial on January 18. Subsequent exculpatory videos proved, in fact, that these lads did nothing wrong.
Twenty-six Republicans in Arizona’s House of Representatives asked state attorney general Mark Brnovich to investigate Perry High in Gilbert. In a March 4 letter to Brnovich, the lawmakers addressed the school’s March 1 “Party in the USA” spirit day. The legislators wrote that “school administrators demanded that several students remove hats, clothing, and signs supportive of President Donald Trump. The students were reportedly asked to leave campus, and one student was suspended for 10 days.” The letter adds that “parents of the students in question say that they were told that the clothing was ‘offensive, and that the kids were being disrespectful by wearing it.’”
- Last month, students at central California’s Clovis North High School were forbidden to wear their MAGA hats, because administrators considered them unsafe. “Bottom line for us, our dress code is really about allowing our kids to come to school, to feel safe at school . . . and to be free of distractions,” school-district spokeswoman Kelly Avants told KSEE-24. “Here we are closer to shouting fire in a crowded theater.”
So, severely neurotic Trump foes want to ban MAGA hats as intimidating and violent, even as Trump foes intimidate and violently attack Trump fans in MAGA hats.
The circle of psychological projection is complete.
Michael Malarkey contributed research for this opinion piece.