A stand-up comedian in Oregon said he was punched by a Trump supporter over the weekend for a joke that he told about the president, according to a report Monday from KATU 2.
The comedian, Joe Fontenot, was performing in Hood River, Oregon – near Portland – when he was attacked during his comedy set on Saturday, per KATU 2.
The subject of the joke was the president’s past comments about creating a “Space Force” agency to defend the country, which Trump first mentioned to members of the U.S. military in March 2018. Per Space.com, people in the audience weren’t sure the president was being serious at the time.
In February, the president signed a directive that would centralize all space-related elements of the U.S. military under a new organization known as the “Space Force,” which would operate under the U.S. Air Force, per Defense News. The decision to fund the agency is up to Congress.
According to an April report from The Washington Post, lawmakers questioned the need for such an agency that, according to a Trump administration proposal, could cost the U.S. some $2 billion over a five-year period.
Even so, some members of Congress agreed that the U.S. needed to modernize its military strategy for space. There has been concern over Russia and China, which have been working to develop satellites that serve military purposes, per The Washington Post.
Fontenot said he told the joke about the Space Force, prompting an audience member to stand up and shout “Make American Great Again,” the 45th president’s famed campaign slogan.
— KATU News (@KATUNews) July 22, 2019
Fontenot told KATU 2 that he responded and told the heckler that someone should build a wall around him, a reference to the president’s often-repeated promise to build a new border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Following Fontenot’s quip, the man reportedly stormed the stage and punched the comedian in the face, causing him to lose consciousness.
“I don’t understand, like, it’s not even a joke about Trump or anything like that, for people to assault someone else for talking is insane,” Fontenot told to KATU about the incident. “Did that make America great again?”
The comedian said he does not normally tell jokes about religion or politics, but decided to try something new on Saturday when he was attacked.
Fontenot said the attack will not stop him from telling similar jokes at future stand-up shows, per KATU 2. According to the local news outlet, the comedian is scheduled to perform again in the Portland area this weekend.
The man has not yet been identified, but surveillance footage from the incident was expected to be released later Monday, per KATU 2.