A Florida Army veteran claimed he was attacked for wearing a Donald Trump hat while shopping at a wholesale store.
Richard Garcia, a 67-year-old Trump supporter, was shopping at his local Sam’s Club when he lowered his head to sneeze. While the man on his one side responded with, “Bless you,” the man on the other side allegedly stared him down, WTVT reports.
“He said, ‘I can not give you a blessing because you’re wearing that stupid hat,'” Garcia claimed.
The veteran said he was initially confused by the man’s statement.
“[I said], ‘What’s wrong with the hat?’ [He said], ‘That’s a Trump hat,'” he said.
Garcia said the man attempted to start a political discussion with him, but Garcia tried to leave the area to avoid confrontation.
“I turned my back to him, and suddenly I hear ‘boom!’ A fist or something on the top of my head,” he said.
Garcia said he felt a pain in his forehead where the man reportedly punched him.
“My hat went down on the ground, my glasses were sideways,” he recalled. “I looked at him and saw him standing there looking at me like, ‘What do you want?'”
Garcia alerted the store manager, who called 911. Police arrived soon after and arrested 36-year-old Patrick Marcus Mickens for battery on an elderly person.
“We should not be afraid to be in our country,” Garcia said. “I wear this hat because this is what we need, to make America great.”
Authorities later released Mickens from jail on $2,000 bond.
Since becoming the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump has divided the GOP, with many refusing to support him due to his often controversial rhetoric. President Barack Obama recently criticized Republicans for supporting the billionaire businessman.
“The question they have to ask themselves is: If you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?” Obama said on August 2, The New York Times reported. “What does this say about your party that this is your standard-bearer?”