Presidents are supposed to inspire their citizens to tackle new challenges, or take part in the democracy by getting engaged and working together to achieve common goals.
President-elect Donald Trump, however, is inspiring something else: hate.
A gay man was on the receiving end of a homophobic attack in Sarasota, Florida by a man who said he’d been motivated by the newly-elected president.
Chuck Redding saw that a dark-colored Jeep Cherokee was following him as he was driving after dropping off a friend, WFTS-TV reported.
The 75-year-old believed he was targeted because of the pro-LGBT bumper stickers on his car, which he parked in front of a neighbor’s house. That’s when the driver of the SUV got out of his car and confronted him.
Redding described the man as Hispanic, with a beard, who started banging his car window and then physically attacked him.
“He yanked the door open, dragged me out, ripped my shirt — I was on the pavement,” he explained. “He kept saying, ‘You know, my new president says we can kill all you f****ts now.'"
Redding said that never before had he ever been attacked for being openly gay, but now he and his friends don’t feel safe anymore. Some of them have decided to get open-carry fire arm permits to protect themselves.
While Trump’s rhetoric has encouraged violence throughout his campaign, it’s not clear where Trump actually stands on LGBT issues.
In a recent interview with 60 minutes after the election, Trump said that his personal views on same-sex marriage were “irrelevant” because the issue has already been “settled.”
But according to Politifact, Trump has consistently opposed same-sex marriage in interviews since 2000. He’s also previously said he would consider appointing justices to the Supreme Court who would favor reversing the decision and leave the issue of same-sex marriage to the states.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence, however, is a different story.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has emotionally called out the vice president-elect’s policies on LGBTQ rights.
Maddow, who’s the first lesbian to host a prime-time news show, called Pence the “most vociferously and consistently anti-gay statewide elected official in the country.”
The incident in Florida is indicative of the kind of bigotry and hate the Trump campaign has inspired all over the country.
The campaign’s dangerous rhetoric has led many to believe that it is now acceptable for people to act upon their racist, homophobic, or bigoted impulses and use Trump's election as justification.
It’s unlikely that Trump or anyone in his inner circle will address these incidents. And sadly, more incidents such as this one are bound to occur in the coming weeks and months.
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