President Donald Trump falsely suggested that a Democratic state senator in Wisconsin who was assaulted during a protest this week brought it upon himself because he “happened to be gay and was probably out there rooting them on or something.”
State Sen. Tim Carpenter, 60, says eight to 10 people punched and kicked him for unknown reasons when he used his cell phone to take a video of a protest at the Wisconsin state Capitol in Madison earlier this week. Witnesses said the attack was unprovoked, an assertion backed up by video. Police were still seeking Carpenter’s attackers on Friday.
The protest erupted late Tuesday after officers arrested a Black man who had walked into a restaurant with a megaphone and a baseball bat, according to police.
Trump blamed Carpenter for being attacked on Thursday during a town hall with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. The president said the state senator was likely encouraging destructive actions by protesters, who ended up toppling a statue of anti-slavery activist Col. Hans Christian Heg, who died fighting for the Union in the Civil War.
“The person they beat up was a Democrat who happened to be gay and he was probably out there rooting them on or something because Democrats think it’s wonderful that they’re destroying our country,” Trump said. “It’s a very sick thing going on. Nobody’s ever seen it.”
It was unclear why Trump pointed out that Carpenter is gay.
Carpenter was stunned.
“I don’t know what’s worse — the beating or having someone turn something so personal that happened to you and weaponize it against you,” he told the newspaper.
He tweeted a similar statement, describing the “beating” Trump gave to the truth.
Carpenter told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he supports civil rights and tried to explain that to the people who assaulted him — but in no way did he encourage any violence or destruction.
He posted a video of his attackers on Twitter after he was assaulted, pleading: “Stop violence now Plz!”
Following the melee outside the Capitol, Gov. Tony Evers (D) put the Wisconsin National Guard on notice to protect state buildings, including the Capitol, on Wednesday.
He also vowed to bring Carpenter’s attackers to justice.