It’s a sad reality that accounts of Trump supporters sending hateful, racist, anti-Semitic messages to those critical of Trump rarely causes a jaw drop these days, but this story from Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald certainly did.
Eichenwald has epilepsy, a publicly known fact, and one that’s central to this narrative:
A couple of weeks later, after my article about how Trump’s business interests would create a conflict of unprecedented proportions, I received a tweet from someone with the twitter handle “Mike’s Deplorable AF.” Like many Trump supporters, he has chosen to identify himself as deplorable to mock the label once used by Clinton to describe the racists, neo-Nazis, homophobes and like who have crawled out of the sewer to cheer for the Republican nominee. Mike, however, is indeed deplorable.
In his tweet, which has since been deleted, Mike made mention of my seizures and included a small video. It contained images of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character that has been identified by the Anti-Defamation League as a hate symbol. I was carrying my iPad, looking at the still image on the video and, without thinking, touched the PLAY button.
The video was some sort of strobe light, with flashing circles and images of Pepe flying toward the screen. It’s what’s called epileptogenic—something that triggers seizures. Fortunately, since I was standing, I simply dropped my iPad to the ground the second I realized what Mike had done. It landed face down on the bathroom floor.
The deplorables are real. The deplorables are dangerous.
Eichenwald continues with a description of some of the more standard hate messages he has received, if you can call death threats, Nazi-style caricatures of Jewish people, references to concentration camps and use of the N-word standard.
Which it isn’t. Nor is it, per Eichenwald, “an unavoidable consequence of a contentious political campaign,” but rather a product of a presidential candidate who publicly and without apology offers his own brand of inexcusable commentary, which emboldens his fans to dish out far worse.