Tennessee man James Phillips allegedly made an obscene gesture toward a couple wearing Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” hats inside a Sam’s Club store, then pulled a gun when the couple returned the gesture.
The incident took place in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where police say the Tennessee resident was shopping at the Sam’s Club store. As WNKY reported, Phillips saw a man and woman wearing MAGA hats and made an obscene gesture with his finger. The man then confronted Phillips, returning the gesture and sparking an argument.
It was then that police say Phillips pulled a .40 caliber Glock that he had concealed in his right rear pocket. Phillips had a conceal carry permit for his home state of Tennessee, which is also valid in Kentucky.
Other shoppers in the store called 911, saying that Phillips threatened the couple as he pulled the gun. Police arrived and arrested the 57-year-old man.
The story of Phillips’ arrest gained national attention, with many pointing out that there have been similar attacks on Trump supporters that have not gotten as much attention as acts of violence that were carried out by Trump’s supporters.
Man arrested for pulling a gun on Sams Club shopper because he was wearing a MAGA hat. https://t.co/RxZPcMwFT5
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) February 18, 2019
This is the latest viral incident in connection with Trump’s trademark red campaign hat. Critics have called the hat a symbol of hatred, and actress Alyssa Milano sparked controversy when she compared the hat to a white Ku Klux Klan hood.
“The red MAGA hat is the new white hood,” she tweeted in response to an incident in which it appeared students from Covington Catholic high school were taunting a Native American man at the March for Life rally. “Without white boys being able to empathize with other people, humanity will continue to destroy itself.”
The MAGA hat was also at the center of an allegedly hoax attack against Empire actor Jussie Smollett. The actor claimed that two men wearing MAGA hats beat him on a night at the end of January while he was walking on a Chicago street, shouting “This is MAGA country!”
The allegations have since come under suspicion, with Chicago police saying that the focus of the investigation has turned to Smollett amid allegations that he worked with two other men to stage the attack.
Critics say that his story was an attempt to stir up anger and hatred toward supporters of Donald Trump.
In Kentucky, James Phillips was arrested and charged with first-degree wanton endangerment for pulling a gun on the couple wearing MAGA hats.