A Vermont homeowner woke up Sunday morning to an alarming discovery: the charred remains of his “Trump 2020: Keep America Great!” flag, which had been flying outside his house in Burlington, Vt.
Gus Klein, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, and his family had been sleeping soundly inside their home the night before, but now he wonders just how safe they really were. “I don’t know if this flag was on fire when they threw it on my front porch,” he said in an interview with local news station WCAX-TV. “I can only assume that it wasn’t, but if it was, that’s not right at all.” Apparently, no fire damage was detected on the porch.
His wife, Annmarie Klein, is equally disturbed by the incident. “To me, that’s violent,” she told NECN. “That’s bullying. It’s scary.” She said that until now, political disagreements have always been civil in the community. “You agree to disagree,” she said. She told NECN that she had supported Trump in 2016, but she has supported Democrats in the past too. She said the flag-burning incident was “an indication that the political tone in America right now is not healthy,” according to the station.
Gus agrees that the incident is out of character for the community. “I’m going to be 58 years old, and I’ve never seen something like this before. I’ve always lived in this area,” he told NECN. He said he fears for his safety now. “I should be able to come and go as I want, and we should be able to sleep at night in our own property, so there is fear,” he told WCAX-TV.
The Kleins’ neighbors are wary too. “I’m kinda worried, because usually stuff like that doesn’t happen in this neighborhood,” one individual living in the area confirmed. The police department is taking those concerns seriously and is investigating the case, according to NECN. The Vermont Democratic Party even weighed in, with spokesperson Christopher Di Mezzo telling the outlet, “Difference of thought is what makes us average Americans. But it’s the level of respect with which we treat that difference that makes us Vermonters — that makes us unique.”
Similar documented cases of harassment against Trump supporters include an incident in October in which a Washington man left his pickup truck in a restaurant parking lot overnight because he’d had too many drinks and returned to find that someone had set the truck on fire, according to the Washington Post. He suspects that his pro-Trump bumper stickers made his truck a target.
In July, a Texas man was arrested for stealing a teen’s “Make America Great Again” hat and throwing it in his face. The incident was captured in a video that went viral.
Despite the scare, Gus holds out hope for a peaceful resolution. He told WCAX that he knows he lives in a blue state, but he welcomes anyone to sit down and share their views with him. He said that although he condemns vandalism, he won’t be intimidated into backing down. “It’s not going to stop me from campaigning for who I feel is right for the United States,” he said.
Yahoo Lifestyle reached out to the Kleins and the Vermont Democratic Party for an update on this story and is waiting to hear back.
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