A startling rash of threats and violent incidents targeting Republican voters in recent weeks is raising concerns about the increasingly toxic political climate, just as the 2020 presidential primaries are getting started.
The incidents began earlier this month when a Florida man, Gregory Timm, 27, allegedly rammed his van into a Republican Party voter registration tent. According to reports, Timm ran over chairs and tables, and witnesses said he recorded the scene moments after the incident, made an obscene gesture and sped off.
Timm has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a person 65 years old or older, one count of criminal mischief and driving with a suspended license. An arrest report said Timm told deputies he did not like President Trump and “someone had to take a stand.”
Days later, in Windham, N.H., amid the state’s first-in-the-nation primary last Tuesday, a man allegedly assaulted a 15-year-old Trump supporter and two adults who had been volunteering at a polling site, Fox News first reported.
The New Hampshire man, Patrick Bradley, 34, was charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct after allegedly getting in the face of the teenage boy, Nate Campbell, who was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, and slapping him across the face. He also is said to have assaulted two other adults who attempted to intervene.
Also, over the weekend, protesters at the University of California at Santa Cruz smashed a College Republicans information table.
According to reports, and a video posted on social media, two protesters tore up placards and ripped down signage—with one of them appearing to spit on a 13-star “Betsy Ross” American flag that is seen on the ground.
Then police at Arizona State University said that they were investigating a video that showed an individual shouting violent threats at a group of pro-Trump students on campus. The video, posted by Students for Trump at Arizona State University on Feb. 5, shows an individual at ASU’s Tempe campus repeatedly shouting at a group of conservative students, saying: “Slash Republicans’ throats.”
Also, last week, retired New York City police officer Daniel Sprague said he got punched in the face at a Tennessee bar, all because he was wearing a birthday hat and a shirt with Trump-like slogans. The man was wearing a hat that said “Make Fifty Great Again” and a shirt that said “Making America Great since 1970.”
And finally, last month a Florida man was sentenced to 90 days in jail and one year of supervised probation after slapping the bill of a man’s “Make America Great Again” hat before telling the man to “go back to Russia you f— communist” and spitting on him, investigators said.