On Sunday morning, a Burlington, Vermont, resident woke up to an unexpected surprise on his front porch. His “Trump 2020 Keep America Great” flag had been set alight, AOL reported.
Fifty-seven-year-old Gus Klein, a veteran from Afghanistan, and his wife, Annmarie, woke up to find the flag, which was usually flying on a flagpole outside their house, lying charred on their porch, with holes burnt in the fabric. The crime has scared the couple, who were sleeping in their beds at the time the flag would have been set alight.
“I don’t know if this flag was on fire when they threw it on my front porch. I can only assume that it wasn’t, but if it was, that’s not right at all.”
An initial investigation has concluded that there is no evidence of scorch marks on the porch itself. But this has not eased the couple’s concern over the sudden act of hatred towards them over their political views.
“To me, that’s violent,” Annmarie said. “That’s bullying. It’s scary.” She added that usually political disagreements are civil in their community. “You agree to disagree,” she added.
While she explained that she had supported Trump in the 2016 presidential elections, she has supported Democrats in the past as well, and called the flag-burning incident “an indication that the political tone in America right now is not healthy.”
Gus has agreed with his wife that the incident is very contrary to the community spirit that they usually enjoy from their neighbors.
“I’m going to be 58 years old, and I’ve never seen something like this before. I’ve always lived in this area. 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.”
Neighbors have also shared their concerns after the incident, with many corroborating the Kleins’ story that the area is a peaceful one that usually agrees to disagree on such points.
Although the act was against the Republican president, the Democratic Party in Vermont also weighed in to condemn the act of violence perpetrated against the Kleins. Spokesperson Christopher Di Mezzo issued a statement regarding the incident on behalf of the party.
“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,” he said.
This is not the first documented incident of violence against Republican supporters since Trump took office. In October, a man left his truck in the parking lot overnight as he was too drunk to drive home, and arrived back to fetch it the next morning only to discover it had been burnt to a crisp in the night. He is convinced the Trump stickers on the vehicle were the motivation for the crime. And in July, a Texan was caught on camera stealing a teenager’s MAGA hat and throwing it back in his face.
In spite of the scare, Gus has no intention of changing his political views or halting his campaign for the re-election of Trump for a second term come the 2020 elections.