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.
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.
"The person they beat up was a Democrat who happened to be gay" — Trump brings up a Wisconsin politician's sexual orientation for no apparent reason at all pic.twitter.com/qCVU4eyOtr
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 26, 2020
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.
I heard what Trump said at Fox’s Town Hall. I was at the MSN riot- they’re tapes of what took place.Don’t know which is more brutal the beating I took or the lies and beating of the truth by Trump. My body will heal in time but DJT’s LIES will live forever. He’s sacred/desperate
— Tim Carpenter (@TimCarpenterMKE) June 26, 2020
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!”
I took this pic- it got me assaulted & beat up. Punched/kicked in the head, neck, ribs. Maybe concussion, socked in left eye is little blurry, sore neck & ribs. 8-10 people attacked me. Innocent people are going to get killed. Capitol locked- stuck in office.Stop violence nowPlz! pic.twitter.com/Zw2hdfYG66
— Tim Carpenter (@TimCarpenterMKE) June 24, 2020
I believe this is State Senator Tim Carpenter. Minutes earlier he told us the protesters assaulted him. Then he collapsed walking towards the Capitol. We called paramedics. An ambulance is here now. pic.twitter.com/uUSdKyQ1hp
— Lance Veeser (@lanceveeser) June 24, 2020
He also vowed to bring Carpenter’s attackers to justice.