MAGAHatRed and MAGA Haters – a New Phenomenon of American Society?
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MAGAHatRed and MAGA Haters – a New Phenomenon of American Society?


There have been numerous incidents in the news recently where people wearing MAGA regalia have been attacked by others. USA Really has also written about MAGA hatred many times, but in this article we’ve decided to address the issue holistically as more incidents are being reported by people via the internet who are expressing frustrations with the media being biased. Are the actual victims necessarily Trump supporters? Or they are just provoking peaceful and amiable Americans who don’t agree with the president on some… small non-essential issues? It’s high time to pay attention to MAGAHatRed and consider it not as a sum of separate cases, but as a new phenomenon with its specific features. Here’re February’s most outstanding incidents that occurred due to the “symbols of discord” in different states of America.

San Mateo, California

San Mateo restaurant against red hats

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, a chef-partner of the Wursthall restaurant in San Mateo. /

The February MAGA epic started with a bizarre January tweet.

What happened?

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, a chef-partner of the Wursthall restaurant in San Mateo, California, said in a tweet that he views the hats as symbols of intolerance and hate.

“It hasn’t happened yet, but if you come to my restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, you aren't getting served, same as if you come in wearing a swastika, white hood, or any other symbol of intolerance and hate,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

In another Tweet, López-Alt added, “MAGA hats are like white hoods except stupider because you can see exactly who is wearing them.”

MAGAHatRed and MAGA Haters – a New Phenomenon of American Society?

What happened then?

Having received a number of threatening emails from those “wearing MAGA caps”, the owner had to apologize – to both the clients and his own colleagues – pointing out that some people just “misunderstood the context” behind his Tweet that wasn’t intended “to be viewed as intolerance for certain political viewpoints.”

In a statement on the blog Medium, J. Kenji López-Alt expressed regret to his staff and partners for not consulting them before making the public statement that drew mixed reaction from community members.

“My goal at Wursthall was for it to be a restaurant where all employees and staff are treated with respect and trust, and by making that public statement without your consent, I failed at that goal,” the man wrote.

“I understand that many interpreted my words in a different context, and construed a message of hate directed at them. This was not my intent in any way, and I am sorry for my recklessness.”

The result:

1.      A whole lot of apologies and acquittals.

2.      No changes in the restaurant’s system: “Wursthall will continue, as it always has, to serve all customer regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual preference, gender orientation, disability, or political opinion — so long as they leave hate, anger, and violence outside of the doors of our restaurant.”

3.      The bottom line is that after López-Alt’s impertinence he definitely managed to draw attention to the restaurant. The reaction was far from what he anticipated though…

Some, however, decided to go to the Wursthall restaurant even more often and those who have never been there before are now planning “to make a trip there just to support him.”

“Like many people, I’m scared and confused by the anger, hatred, and violence that I’m seeing in our country right now,” J. Kenji López-Alt wrote. “Symbols have power and meaning and can mean different things to different people at different times and in different contexts.”

So, what do we have? More hatred, more violence, more possible conflicts – at least on the territory of the restaurant…

St. Louis, Missouri

12-year old in MAGA hat attacked by peers on the school bus

Gavin, 12, was attacked for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat on a Parkway school bus. /

What happened?

Gavin Cortina, 12, was verbally and physically bullied by his Parkway School District peers because he wore President Donald Trump’s signature MAGA hat.

A cellphone video of the incident shows the students arguing over President Trump’s proposed Mexican border wall. One of the instigators yelled “you want to build a wall? You want to build a f**king wall!?” before the situation became physical.

What happened then?

A Parkway District spokesperson said the incident was investigated through video footage from cameras inside the school bus and all the students involved have faced “consequences.” The spokesperson added all three students would participate in “a restorative mediation process to help learn to resolve their differences in a peaceful and respectful manner.”

Although hard to believe, Gavin was later suspended from school for punching the student who hit him first.

“We regret that this incident occurred as it does not reflect the positive character we expect from our students,” the Parkway School District wrote in its statement. “We will continue to work together with students, staff and families to ensure all students learn to treat each other with dignity and respect.”

“As a parent it’s so upsetting. I feel like my son was made an example of, it was a tricky situation, it was politically charged,” Christina Cortina, the mother of the boy who expressed concern over letting him wear the hat again, told KMOV-TV.

The result:

1.      Humiliation, regrets, “sorries” – everything as usual…

2.      The damage to the child’s moral well-being caused by the adults – apparently, with “Trump anxiety disorder” – who taught their children to HATE.

Feb. 7
Anderson, California

Parents upset by school employee wearing MAGA hat

What happened?

A yard duty aide at an Anderson school wearing a MAGA hat offended fifth-through-eighth grade students by telling them the signature on his hat is the country’s national slogan. Some students who were especially troubled by the sight told their parents about the “incident.” It’s really important to add that those offended were the members of the Hispanic community…

What happened then?

“Student reaction over the hat ranged from feeling uncomfortable to fear,” Record Searchlight reported.

Jennifer Zapien and Misti Hernandez, whose children were insulted by the aide’s inexcusable behavior, took a handwritten note to the district office and even contacted the news media to report about what happened.

Jennifer Zapien /

“It caused quite a ruckus among the children. We had quite a number of parents call the district and got no response.” Zapien said. “It is offensive when my child comes home and says a school official made him feel uncomfortable.”

Even though the school didn’t have a dress code policy for staff, which meant the man did not violate any rules by wearing the hat, Cascade Union School District superintendent Jason Provence had to apologize for the incident because several students didn’t like the fact that they can’t wear to school anything they wanted. Meanwhile, Zapien posted her own informal poll on her Facebook page, asking if the yard duty officer should apologize publicly or not.

Now not only will the employee have to take his hat off, but also other staff members have to talk with students to make sure they’re not uncomfortable with their clothes…

The result:

1.      Apologies from those who didn’t have to apologize as no rules have been broken.

2.      The case reveals another problem caused by MAGA symbols – or ascribed to it by those opposing the President – which is an overwhelming fear. (Let’s remember Trump’s answer to Bob Woodward and his Washington Post colleague asking the President how he defines power. He said then, “Real power is – I don’t even want to use the word – fear.”) Maybe fear is the real reason so many people hate Trump?..

3.      Another incident dividing society into two parts: “Us” (who are able to see the true state of affairs) and “them” (hypnotized zombies who can’t understand anything). Actually, MAGA regalia’s ability to sow the seeds of discord is only in the heads of those who overreact to the color red.

Feb. 15
Falmouth, Massachusetts

Incident at Mexican eatery: Brazilian woman assaulted American man wearing MAGA hat

What happened?

23-year-old Bryton Turner was eating at Casa Vallarta Mexican Restaurant, when a 41-year-old Brazilian woman snatched his red MAGA hat off, calling him “stupid” for his “audacity” to wear it at the Mexican eatery.

Turner managed to film the incident and shared two videos on Facebook with the caption, “Went out with some friends trying to enjoy some dinner and drinks when this ignoramus randomly tried to hit my hat off and started yelling at me…”

What happened then?

When police arrived at the restaurant, the woman claimed that Turner should not be allowed to eat at a Mexican restaurant because of his support for President Donald Trump, who is pushing to building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“He’s not a victim. I am the victim. I have been bullied, OK?” she told Boston 25 News, though adding she regrets her actions.

According to WBZ-TV, Santos was later taken into custody by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and released but ordered to appear before an immigration judge for a pretrial hearing on March 20.

Although it’s still not clear whether the woman will have to leave the U.S. or not, it’s evident that she could easily do without expressing her invaluable opinion and be much happier without all these troubles.

The result:

1.      Woman’s intemperance has turned her into the ICE defendant. Did she achieve anything? No. Has anyone got better? Again, no.

2.      Having found another reason to divide society, the media add fuel to the fire. Those who wear MAGA symbols laugh at unrestrained “anti-Trumpists” while the latter feel unjustifiably accused.

Feb. 16
Bowling Green, Kentucky

Man accused of pulling gun on couple wearing MAGA hats

What happened?

A couple – in MAGA hats, of course – who have been identified as Terry Pierce and his wife Cherrie were shopping at a Sam’s Club in Bowling Green when 57-year-old James Philips flipped them off while they were checking out.

“It’s a good day for you to die,” said Philips after pulling his .40 caliber out and sticking it in Pierce’s face. Pierce didn’t flinch, however, and offered the MAGA-hater to “pull the trigger or put the gun down and fight me like a man.”

Soon after a very intense verbal interaction Philips – who was in the store with his elderly mother – stepped outside and Pierce followed him to his car to continue the argument.

“He tried telling me I assaulted him and I said, ‘I never touched you,’” Pierce said.

What happened then?

Fortunately, no one was injured. According to CBN News, James Philips – who turned out to have two weapon charges in Tennessee – was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment on February 22. The man admitted to flipping off Pierce and Pierce’s wife because of their hats. After the hearing, the court said given Philips’ criminal record, his bond would remain at $10,000. The case will be presented to a grand jury within 60 days.

The result:

It’s still unclear what has been achieved in this case as well as in other similar cases. It was just another pointless skirmish that fortunately ended relatively well. The only thing that deserves attention here is the remarks of those involved made after the incident. See for yourself:

“Our country is so divided right now. This country’s gotta come back together. It’ll never be destroyed by another country, it’ll be destroyed from within – and that’s the people vs the people.” said Pierce, who was the victim.

“The emotional part of it is just how it’s disrupted my life. And it may seem stranger, but there’s never been a fear for me about it. It’s anger is my emotion,” said Phillips, who was the attacker.

Who is right and who is wrong?..

Feb. 17
Overland Park, Kansas

Vans employee tells 14-year-old “F*ck you” for wearing MAGA hat

What happened?

The teen and his mother were shopping at the Overland Park store when the unidentified employee asked the 14-year-old to take off his hat. When the boy didn’t respond, the employee swore at him saying unprompted in the presence of the boy’s mother, “F*** you.”

The video of the subsequent exchange between the mother and the employee does not show the employee’s actual remark, but it does show the mother confronting the employee, who does not deny he was the source of the comment.

The woman pointed out several times that her son was only 14. Unfortunately, in today’s U.S. such things can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race or other things – the only marker for all these spontaneous acts of hatred is MAGA symbols, which works just like red rag to a bull.

What happened then?

The Daily Caller reported that the employee was fired, which was confirmed by Mediaite.

A spokeswoman for Vans stated to the Daily Caller, “Our focus is to provide the best customer service experience. We did let this employee go. He is no longer with our company. The actions and comments from this employee at the Oak Park location is in contrast with our values and beliefs.” She added, “We have taken care of the situation.”

The result:

  1. Of course, apologies for “such a behavior”--not from assaulter himself, though, but from the company he represented.
  2. As with the case of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s “hate-tweet,” what did the man manage to demonstrate? He only succeeded in losing his job, making headlines in local newspapers and scaring Vans’ potential pro-Trump customers away.
  1. More hatred between two “camps”…


  1. One important conclusion:

Feb. 21
Fresno, California

A teen sues California high school for banning her from wearing MAGA hat

What happened?

Maddie Mueller, a politically active senior at Clovis North High School in Fresno, was planning on wearing the MAGA hat as part of a demonstration by a patriotic group of which she is a member called the Valley Patriots, which asked members to wear MAGA gear on February 20.

However, the girl was told she couldn’t wear the hat to class. The reason? According to Mueller, the dress code doesn’t allow clothing with logos on it – which didn’t conflict with the girl’s intention as she claimed that MAGA is not a logo, but a political statement.

“To my knowledge, Trump is not a logo. It’s a last name. It’s just our president, you can’t claim the president is a logo, sports team, or affiliated with any gang,” Mueller said. “How is being a patriot in trying to show pride in your country – how is that inappropriate?” Moreover, in an “Ingraham Angle” exclusive interview Mueller claimed she has since seen multiple students wearing hats supporting Bernie Sanders and several others with the LGBTQ rainbow flag.

What happened then?

“It’s unfortunate that our dress code is being misrepresented as specifically singling out a MAGA hat as that is not what the policy says,” Clovis Unified School District spokeswoman Kelly Avants said in a statement to Fox News. If Mueller had worn a shirt that said MAGA, Avants said, she would have been OK. However, as Mueller claims, her “Build the Wall” shirts were also vetoed by school authorities.

The girl – who hasn’t been wearing the MAGA hat to school since she was told not to – is now suing the school district, claiming the school’s decision goes against her First Amendment rights. Last year, an Oregon school was forced to pay a $25,000 settlement to a student who was suspended for wearing a shirt supporting the proposed border wall.

The result:

1.      The girl asked a reasonable question: “How is being a patriot in trying to show pride in your country – how is that inappropriate?” She didn’t get a rational answer, though, as first, her t-shirts with Trump’s slogans were also forbidden, and secondly, hats supporting Bernie Sanders were allowed for some reason.

2.      “I’m not really caring if I’m offending anybody,” Mueller, who has since received threatening messages on social media, told KSEE. “I’m just showing support for the president and what I believe.” Actually, it’s really scaring that today’s U.S. teens have to fight for their right to support the president…



College professor seeks advice about treating his MAGA hat-wearing student

This story requires no further comment… On February, 23, some college professor – whose pro-Trump student’s presence at his exam apparently wouldn’t let him sleep at night – posted his story on a question and answer site Ask MetaFilter asking for colleagues’ opinion on how he should act.

Here’s what he wrote:

“College professor here, at a majority-minority state school. Recently one of my students came to class with a Make America Great Again red baseball cap. It was during an exam so I only saw it and him briefly and had no practical way to react or comment (even if I had wanted to).

One the one hand: he’s probably outnumbered 20 to 1 politically, so good luck to him, academia is in favor of free expression, the marketplace of ideas, willing to let it all hang out, etc.

On the other hand: feels like hate speech. If a student was wearing a “death to $raceX” hat I would feel compelled to take action and possibly evict her/him.

Personally, I'm offended, but that's not the metric I should use to decide.

No students have complained (yet) but he was sitting in the last row so nobody saw him, and it was the first time.

College teachers: advice?”

It’s noteworthy that most of the advisers decided that wearing a MAGA hat cannot be considered hate speech. You can read other comments on this post here.

Feb. 25
Somerset County, New Jersey

81-year-old man attacked in New Jersey grocery store for wearing MAGA hat

Ryan M. Salvagno graduated in 2017 from Franklin High where he trained and competed on the wrestling team for the Franklin Warriors since 2014. He is also a self-described dancer. /

What happened?

The unidentified 81-year-old New Jersey man wearing a MAGA hat was finishing his shopping at the ShopRite supermarket in Franklin Township in Somerset County and was exiting the grocery store when he was approached by 19-year-old Ryan Salvagno, who expressed his disapproval of the victim’s MAGA hat.

According to the police, Salvagno took the victim by his arm and threw him to the ground, tipping over the 81-year-old’s groceries. He then threw the victim’s hat to the side.

“I think that’s very disgusting,” shopper Carlos Mendez told WNBC-TV. “The person that attacked him is a coward.”

“I’m kinda speechless,” a female shopper told WNBC. “It’s upsetting that things are happening like this to innocent people who are just out minding their business whatever you’re wearing, it’s your decision.”

What happened then?

The man whose identity has not been released suffered minor injuries from the attack, and he reportedly declined treatment. 

Salvagno was arrested two days later, on February 27 and now faces criminal charges. Salvagno is due back in court for an arraignment on March 14.

The result:

Although the situation is out of the ordinary, it nevertheless caused some people to look soberly at all the chaos around.  


Feb. 25
Edmond, Oklahoma

“Take that s**t off!”: Bully knocks MAGA hat off student’s head, rips away his Trump flag in high school hallway.

What happened?

Fire and ice bumped into each other in a hallway at Edmond Santa Fe High School. During the school’s “Wolf Dare Week” – when students can dress up and go to assemblies as part of a fundraising effort – anti-Trump 18-year-old Kenneth Dewayne Jones encountered pro-Trump 17-year-old Lane Roberson wearing a MAGA hat and a Trump 2020 flag like a cape. He blocked him from passing through a hallway, and snapped, “Take it off or I’ll rip it off… do you want me to rip it off?” and “You going to rip it off or am I going to burn it?”

It ended after Jones yanked the Trump flag from Roberson’s hands and threw it to the floor and repeatedly said, “Take that s**t off!” before walking away.

Video of two students below:

What happened then?

According to Enid News and Eagle, a municipal court in Edmond pressed the charges against Jones – which is exactly what the victim’s father David Roberson advised city attorney Steve Murdock to do, as the school had done nothing about the “assault.”

“He was being assaulted for ... his beliefs, what he felt what he supports and believes in,” the victim’s father said. “We are proud that our son has and will continue to show his patriotism, love for his country, and support for the president of the United States of America, Donald Trump.”

Even though the students have not spoken to one another since the confrontation, Jones expressed his remorse, “I’m sorry for what I did, I understand I handled it wrong. I made a mistake and will learn from it. I’m 18 and hope to one day put this behind me.”

Meanwhile, the students’ families began a mediation process, although they have not reached an agreement yet.

The result:

  1. Edmond Public Schools officials came to the conclusion that the school district must be “vigilant in teaching and supporting students as they learn how best to respectfully express their opinions.”
  2. Trump is still the U.S. president.


MAGA as a symbol

What does MAGA apparel symbolize for you? As you’ve probably noticed, many incidents on the ground on divergence of political views involve remarks on the evil carried by that sinister signature – “Make America Great Again” and in some cases the “assaulters” consider themselves victims

Actress Alyssa Milano, a leader of the #MeToo movement, even called MAGA hat “the new white hood.”

CNN contributor Angela Rye was also “triggered” by the hats. “This ‘Make America Great Again’ hat is just as maddening and frustrating and triggering for me to look at as a KKK hood,” she said. “That is the type of hatred his policies represent.”

Kathleen Parker, a center-right columnist for The Washington Post, compared the slogan with the “Ku Klux Klan-grade threat of white supremacy”: “The value of MAGA as a positive slogan is spent, except among a relatively small cadre of Trump loyalists who might as well be exchanging a secret handshake. As a symbol of rebellion, on the other hand, you might want to invest. It should come as no surprise that some kids love the hat because grownups are so upset about it.”

If at first MAGA was supposed to be just a symbol of Trump’s presidency (MAGA hats were named the 2016 Symbol of the Year by Stanford’s Symbolic Systems program, which cited the hats’ widespread recognition and “effective distillation” of Trump’s campaign into a single accessory), now it has become overlain with so much meaning that it’s too difficult to remember its initial message.

While the MAGA caps’ definition has evolved, Givhan, the provocative Washington Post fashion critic, says they have been “transformed into an open wound, a firestorm of hate and a marker of societal atavism.” She writes, “there’s nothing banal or benign about the hat, no matter its wearer’s intent. It was weaponized by the punch-throwing Trump rallygoers, the Charlottesville white supremacists, Trump’s nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Kanye West and proponents of the wall, the wall, the wall. The hat has become a symbol of us vs. them, of exclusion and suspicion, of garrulous narcissism, of white male privilege, of violence and hate.”

Wearing the red baseball cap has become a special ritual, though no one knows what exactly it’s intended to epitomize.

Hilary George-Parkin, for example, wrote for Racked in 2017 that MAGA hats aren’t just a political symbol; they’ve become a form of adolescent rebellion.

Bridget Todd, a patriotic woman who lives in Washington D.C. – where she has worked as an activist, a teacher and a digital strategist – and supports the country thinks, however, MAGA is the wrong way to do so. She says she would ask a MAGA hat wearer, “Why would you want to wear a symbol that, for so many people stands for oppression, bigotry and hate? Why would you want to put that on your head?”

Meanwhile, those who do not consider themselves to be “Trump fans” buy the cap planning “to wear it proudly” “not because one race is inferior to another, and not because Donald Trump is the savior of our nation,” but with the aim to “stand against those who think they get to decide what matters for all of us.”

Thus, Fox News’ Kristan Hawkins wrote, “Make America Great Again has nothing to do with slavery or race. The MAGA hat is not the equivalent of a Confederate flag. It has become popular for one reason and one reason only: The political left hates it almost as much as they hate Donald Trump. It’s become the symbol of his presidency. The hats are meant to harken Americans back to better days – not the dark days of slavery and segregation, but days when lawmakers actually got along and compromised; when Democrats were actually allowed to be pro-life; when Americans didn’t check their neighbors’ political affiliation on Facebook before deciding if they could be friends.”

Her opinion would definitely be questioned by Matthew A. Sears, an associate professor of classics and ancient history at the University of New Brunswick, who believes that “in our current context, it is impossible to separate the MAGA symbol from anti-immigrant and anti-minority views and policies.” “After all, what could ‘make America great again’ mean other than returning America to its ‘ancestral constitution?’” he wrote in his column for the Washington Post.

Nevertheless, Hawkins’ colleague Howard Kurtz also thinks that “when they’re denouncing people in MAGA hats they are blaming people who support Trump. They are saying that anyone who likes this president is, by definition, a racist.”

David Whitley of Orlando Sentinel expressed a compromise point of view: “Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think all 62,984,828 people who voted for Trump are guilty of the racist, sexist or homophobic charges. A few might just like lower taxes. Expressing any support, however, is now like putting a ‘Kick Me’ sign on your back, or at least a ‘Stare at Me’ sign. Man, it felt good to get home and take that (MAGA hat) darned thing off. When it comes to 2020, I can’t even read my own mind when it comes to Trump. As for the rest of America, I’m guessing a lot of people might be eager to finally fight the Resistance.”

Anyway, there’s no right or wrong attitude to the issue, especially in the U.S. where people have to change their “Trump” last name just to live a normal life, where there’re special dating websites for those who support the president, where cashiers deny service to those who wear MAGA hats, cartoonists hide anti-Trump “little Easter eggs” on children’s coloring pages, and editors at TV stations modify Trump’s video footage to make him look like an orange.

The       Only question that really matters is, who or what is the real source of hate: MAGA hats or MAGA hat haters?

Author: USA Really