Patterico's Pontifications


Former DNC Staffer Kicked Out Of Eatery For Harassing Customer Wearing MAGA Hat

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:41 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It seems to me, if you can’t ignore a hat whose wearer is quietly minding his own business, maybe you’re the problem and not the hat nor the person wearing it.

T.J. Helmstetter headed to Hill Country, a Penn Quarter restaurant that has been one of his favorite stops. In a text-message interview Friday, Helmstetter said that he, his partner and three other people found the place packed when they arrived.

“We had just walked in when I saw the guy sitting by the bar with the MAGA hat,” Helmstetter wrote. “I said, ‘Hey, are you from D. C.?’ ”

The man said no, and Helmstetter said he responded, “We don’t tolerate racism in this city.” The comment, according to Helmstetter, prompted the MAGA cap wearer’s companion to get up and jab her fingers into his chest. “I’m sure I said more things then, don’t remember what,” Helmstetter texted.

Did he curse at the woman?

“I’m from New Jersey, I’m sure I did. I might have said get your f—ing hands off of me or something like that,” he texted.

That’s when a Hill Country manager told Helmstetter, but not the target of his ire, to leave. On Twitter, Helmstetter said that Hill Country “chose to protect the Nazi’s right but not mine” to dine at the restaurant. Helmstetter then walked outside and called a Hill Country manager, who supported his staff’s decision to boot him.

[Ed. Notice how The Washington Post framed this: That’s when a Hill Country manager told Helmstetter, but not the target of his ire, to leave.]

Management responded to the kerfuffle in an email to the Washington Post:

Last night our management team overheard a very loud verbal altercation in our bar area. When two of our managers approached the area, they observed one of our guests being hostile towards another group of guests. Our team was simply trying to prevent a physical altercation as they are trained to do and asked the guest yelling at the group to leave the restaurant immediately. There was nothing more to it from our team’s perspective and the incident was handled appropriately to ensure guest safety.

It’s interesting to see the Washington Post’s active agreement to “otherize” MAGA-hat- wearers by repeating Helmstetter’s description. And in this case, they are otherizing the victim:

Helmstetter texted that he felt compelled to confront the MAGA-hat-wearing diner. He added that “progressives and any concerned person who thinks that we shouldn’t cage brown children in American concentration camps should respond vociferously to these people at every opportunity.”

But “these people” often respond vociferously. Helmstetter’s Twitter feed and private message inbox were flooded with comments, much of it questioning his manhood and recommending that he get therapy. Some even suggested that he was lucky to come out alive after confronting a Trump supporter in a barbecue joint.

So online idiots tweeting stupid stuff are “these people” but not the individual who aggressively harassed a customer who was minding his own business? Geez, just imagine what would’ve happened if Helmstetter thought he caught a glimpse of a smirk…

Ben Smith says what needs to be said:

I live downtown only a few blocks from the White House. Every day I see hundreds of tourists walking through my area.

Yes, they can be annoying. The walk on the wrong side. Stop randomly to take pics, and don’t know how the metro works.

However, they bring a lot of money and much needed revenue to the city.

A few days ago, I sat down to grab a quick bite before heading to a housewarming party. There was an extremely kind family of 4 sitting near me.

They were extremely nice to me when I asked them to hand me something down the counter. Two boys and their parents.

When they left the restaurant, they all put back on their MAGA hats and began walking towards the White House, and for some reason, I began to worry about them. There was no reason to, but I did.

I had heard them talking joyfully about being in our nation’s capital and what it meant to them. They were excited.

But for some reason, when they walked out and put on their MAGA hats, I had a lump in my throat as I feared that someone might say something. I then quickly brushed it away.

Now that this Hill Country incident has happened I would like to make one thing clear to my fellow DC residents. Yes, we live here. No none of us agree on everything, but this isn’t our city.

This city belongs to everyone in the United States. This is the transient city. It belongs to the nation.

So yes, you may disagree with our visitors, but they have just as much of a right to be here as you.

So treat with the same respect that you know that they would treat you.

The people visiting are a vital source of both economic stability of the city as well add to the uniqueness and diversity.

I don’t want to be afraid for these wonderful kind people who, some are doing a once-in-a lifetime visit to come back from our amazing city feeling like they don’t belong in the best symbol of freedom in the world.

They shouldn’t have to fear being here due to politics. And I am ashamed of my fellow city-dwellers.

How sad that this needs to be said. How sad that this is where we’ve landed. Blame Trump all you want for that which he is blameworthy. And there’s plenty there with which to work. But, honestly, the choice to react to a dumb hat (and its wearer) lies wholly with the individual. And as Smith’s comments eloquently reminds us, not everyone who wears a MAGA hat is a monster. Kind and decent Americans wear them. Symbols aren’t always representative of what you and your political views demand they be.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


54 Responses to “Former DNC Staffer Kicked Out Of Eatery For Harassing Customer Wearing MAGA Hat”

  1. No, these people are exhausting at all.

    Dana (bb0678)

  2. Still haven’t seen any evidence that connects MAGA hats to racism or homophobia although the assertion is made very very confidently.
    Also have yet to see Trump actually hurt gay people or black people beyond their “feelings”.
    Overall their lives seem to be at least as good as they were under Obama.
    Trumps rising jobs and wage tide lifts all boats, I don’t see him trying to keep blacks and gays from participating.

    steveg (354706)

  3. The proprietor did the right thing. The ex-DNC guy was being an a$$.

    Paul Montagu (fc91e5)

  4. ‘… not everyone who wears a MAGA hat is a monster.’

    No– just an enabler.

    Like Albert Speer; ‘the good Nazi.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  5. Maybe someone should inform all the DC Liberal/Leftist that DC is OUR Capital. It belongs to all of us – all over the USA. Its not THEIR City. Its the capital of the United States of America and its where OUR Government resides. The fact that these liberal/left parasites happened to live there, so they can live off our tax dollars is irrelevant.

    And what this article doesn’t mention, is that on twitter 2,000 people gave this guy a thumbs up. Here’s an idea. What if the Left/liberals just keep getting crazier and more violent? What if Trump wins in 2020, and they go complete insane? Total Antifa. What then conservatives? I have a feeling most of you would just give up, and give them what they want rather then fight.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  6. @5. First, maybe someone should inform Trump they’re our planes, not his; they’re our tanks, not his and it’s his parade bill to pay, not ours.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  7. I feel different. I can only echo the words of the American Revolution:

    If they want a war, let it begin here.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  8. @6 You tell me when Trump claimed the Planes, tanks, and men were HIS. The only POTUS who had that attitude was LBJ who famously told a soldier: “Son, those are *all* my Helicopters”

    rcocean (1a839e)

  9. @7. Echoes:

    ‘Ein Volk, Ein Amerika, Ein Trump’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  10. of course, one recalls the late ron silver at the first Clinton inaugural,

    narciso (d1f714)

  11. Last post. If you want to know how the Republicans, especially the comfortable well-to-do pragmatic Republicans will react, look at California. They’ve all run away or won’t utter a peep in protest against the Crazy Left-wing State Government. When the Left the USA, they’ll do the same. Bush and his family will either change over to being Democrats or leave politics. They won’t fight.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  12. @8. Wait ’til you get the bill.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  13. They don’t tolerate racism in DC, just brownshirts dressed in black.

    They’re Helmstetter’s kind of folk, setting the rules in our nation’s capital.

    Munroe (43f7e1)

  14. Vietnam war protestors were beaten by hard hats and law enforcers civil rights protestors were beaten and killed by racists. black lives matter. what goes around comes around it could be a lot worse. How many mega hat weares have been killed besides none.

    lany (5dda2f)

  15. @8. Yes and America thoroughly enjoyed LBJ’s July 4, ’64, ’65, ’66, ’67 and ’68 Washington DC parades and city flyovers.

    Oh wait, there were none.

    The money went to widening the Vietnam war, instead. We got stuck with the bill, along with 58,000 others etched on wall, for that ego trip, too.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  16. Sissy-boy got his nose out of joint,
    And threw a hissy fit.
    Got hisself thrown out of the joint,
    And got into the Washington Post.

    Such is life.

    nk (dbc370)

  17. No but there were tanks in 1933, and 1953, and missiles at the 1961 innaugural.

    Narciso (fddec8)

  18. There were also tanks in 1932 but for a different reason.

    urbanleftbehind (db486c)

  19. Yes clearing out the bonus March

    Narciso (fddec8)

  20. Cavalry, infantry and machine guns, too.

    “When the Bonus Army poured into Washington DC, MacArthur and Eisenhower almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.”

    nk (dbc370)

  21. Of course the contrast between this former DNC staffer and the MAGA hat is reminiscent of Covington kid in a hat and how he was treated by the media and those on the Left. Why is it so hard to believe that someone in a MAGA hat is no more a monster than is a college kid wearing a Che t-shirt?

    Dana (bb0678)

  22. “A public relations contractor who previously worked for the Democratic National Committee.” So it was easy for him to catch the ear of a friendly reporter and make his personal pique into a news story.

    nk (dbc370)

  23. “Why is it so hard to believe that someone in a MAGA hat is no more a monster than is a college kid wearing a Che t-shirt?”

    Do you even hear yourself?
    Let me re-phrase:

    Why is it so hard to not equate an American supporting America and her duly elected president,as morally upright as an American college student supporting a Cuban socialist that murdered scores of people?

    You Trump haters have lost your minds…but no more monstrously than the regressives promoting late term abortions and the abolition of borders.

    lee (f8d029)

  24. 23. So now my criticism of Trump is being compared to late-term abortions and open-borders advocacy. SMDH

    Gryph (08c844)

  25. lee,

    I used the term “monster” as an example of the extreme accusations I’ve seen made of those in MAGA hats. I also attempted to make the point that accusing one side of being monsters or others of supporting mass murder are both intellectually lazy and uninformed opinions. People who love America and this president wear the hats; people who wear Che t-shirts can love America too and just be dumb and ignorant college kids who see themselves as some sort of rebel. The point is, wearing one thing or the other does not make them the worst of what people’s political views demand they be.

    With that being said, however, I do see a problem:

    Why is it so hard to not equate an American supporting America and her duly elected president,as morally upright as an American college student supporting a Cuban socialist that murdered scores of people?

    I will ask you this: Does the question of what is considered morally upright behavior (supporting the president) become questionable if the individual to whom that support is being rendered has demonstrated – repeatedly – that he is not morally upright himself? Does that change the equation for you?

    Dana (bb0678)

  26. Dana,

    It would be simpler if you said people who don’t get upset at people who wear the tshirt of a mass murdering butcher go insane at someone wearing a hat supporting the duly elected president.

    NJRob (3d9432)

  27. In reference to the prevalence of ‘Che’ shirts; I do wonder what the Washington Post would have to say if somebody had a meltdown over some twit wearing the face of that multiple-murdering, torturing bastard. That he is still some kind of icon shows how completely skewed the Left’s perceptions have gotten. Gods forbid a bunch of losers venerate that miserable Austrian Corporal, but Communists (who murdered more people)? They’re just fine.

    And, naturally, nobody on the Left wants to entertain the idea that the Nazis, who were National SOCIALISTS, were anything other than Right Wing.


    A Progressive is a Socialist is a Communist is a Fascist is a Nazi. The differences between them are as important as the differences between Heinz Ketchup and Hunts Ketchup. Oh, some people will prefer one to the other, but the substance is the same.

    C. S. P. Schofield (f7316d)

  28. Well said Mr Schofield.

    NJRob (3d9432)

  29. Dana, at the risk of displaying bad manners, I will answer your question with another.

    If Herr Mueller and his dozen Dana hating investigating attorneys spent 3 years and $25 million dollars investigating you, would you come out as innocent as Trump?

    When that happens you can pretend you are AS morally upright as him. Until then, you just sound like a self righteous hater.

    lee (f8d029)

  30. I am absolutely, positively, one million percent certain that if Dana were investigated for colluding with Russia to steal the election and obstruction of justice, she would come out a million times more innocent than Trump, no matter how many years and how many millions of dollars how many Muellers spent investigating her. Trump was lucky to be investigated for something that he was likely innocent of, and not something that he is guilty of. But the postman is still ringing the bell.

    nk (dbc370)

  31. If you see Trump as being morally upright….you are standing on your head.

    Kishnevi (20d062)

  32. Funny you should mention postmen still ringing, for if one-time residential proximity alone was sufficient to confer guilt:–512309731.html

    urbanleftbehind (db486c)

  33. “He will face federal charges for incidents between 2002-2005, three senior law enforcement sources told NBC News.”

    That’ll teach him to be stingy with the political donations.

    nk (dbc370)

  34. @17/18/19/20. Not Independence Day.

    That’s reserved for blockbuster hits by alien invaders.

    And Trump.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  35. @32. For sex trafficking?! A slap and tickle with a copy of Forbes woulda been a lot less costly.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  36. Even Ben Smith seems to have missed a lot.

    The reason that MAGA hats have such an ridiculously overboard stigma associated to them is because a ridiculously overboard media and politik have made it their mission to create same. That there are nitwits who feel they are doing a heroic deed by screaming at a MAGA hat-wearer or demanding they be removed just shows how much this fascistic campaign has succeeded.

    Think back to the Covington farce. There were a few regulars here who actually implied wearing the hats was the problem, not the unhinged reaction (which continues with the Nazi references coming from the kiddies’ table).

    harkin (58d012)

  37. Well, MAGA gear is seen as denoting the wearer supports Trump and all his works.

    So if you are a person who thinks that Trump and his policies are abhorrent, morally bankrupt, and dangerous to the welfare of the US, you will see a Trump supporter as someone who supports policies that are abhorrent, morally bankrupt, and dangerous to the welfare of the US.

    So if you do wear MAGA gear, be prepared to encounter people who think you support evil things.

    kishnevi (0c10d1)

  38. When I see someone wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt, my first assumption is that they’ve been duped by communist propaganda into the ranks of the useful idiots. The possibility also exists that the wearer genuinely supports vicious murdering monsters like Che, of course, but when I ask them, “Would you also wear a shirt with Mao’s or Stalin’s or Pol Pot’s or Hitler’s face on it?” they tend to answer, “Of course not.”

    I make the same relatively charitable assumptions about those I see wearing MAGA gear.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  39. What a prince!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  40. I make the same relatively charitable assumptions about those I see wearing MAGA gear.

    The charitable assumption is to assume that they think those policies are good.

    In which case the proper question is to ask to what degree they have lost their moral gyroscope.

    kishnevi (0c10d1)

  41. “Think back to the Covington farce. There were a few regulars here who actually implied wearing the hats was the problem, not the unhinged reaction (which continues with the Nazi references coming from the kiddies’ table).”

    You mean those racist punks, harkin?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  42. @ kish: I still disagree. The charitable assumption is that they’ve been duped into thinking that Trump’s policies are not, to use your formulation (with which I agree), “abhorrent, morally bankrupt, and dangerous to the welfare of the US.” That is why they’re useful [to Trump] idiots. I’m not endorsing idiocy, but I hold idiots less culpable than those who know better and still support Trump.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  43. Jeff Sessions is the classic example of someone who knew better, and yet still supported Trump, and who has now gotten karmic payback that he entirely deserves. He was not merely a useful idiot, and I hold him very culpable indeed, and I think it’s absolutely appropriate that he’s now despised by almost everyone, pro-Trump or anti-.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  44. Zack Ford
    Specifically, I share a story in today’s newsletter about my decision to unfriend someone I’ve known since high school over her decision to wear a MAGA hat. I gave her a choice, and she chose the hat over me.
    __ _

    Zack Ford
    My final words to her were: “Every time you wear the hat, you remember you lost a friendship over it. Every time.” I know for sure I’ll now think of her every time I see a MAGA hat, and I’ll fear its corrupting power even more than I used to.
    __ _

    tbh, I’d choose the hat over you, too, and I don’t even like Trump.
    __ _

    Spartacus Finch
    She didn’t choose the hat. She chose to not let you control her. Sounds like a reasonable choice considering you not only thought this was a great thing to share with the world (attaboy!) but have left it up even after seeing no one agrees with you.
    __ _

    I thought republicans were the ones running the Handmaid’s Tale. Turns out, it is just another so-called ally trying to control what women wear or think. Who is really the fascist in this story?
    __ _

    Micah Don Arington
    Wow, apparently it’s NOT her body, her choice


    harkin (58d012)

  45. The charitable assumption is to assume that they think those policies are good.

    In which case the proper question is to ask to what degree they have lost their moral gyroscope.

    I don’t think that’s being charitable. I think more fittingly, there is a lot of ignorance amongst segments of Trump supporters. These are political watchers who research stories and dog more deeply than just what Fox News is shouting about or what Trump is tweeting. He plays on and relies on their ignorance while assuming their mantle of their marginalization on their behalf.

    Dana (bb0678)

  46. You have it backwards, the ap is so agregiously over the top wrong, and that is the well from where everything flows,

    why do mere minions of democrats, feel entitled to attack trump supporters, it is this kultursmog, as r Emmett tyrell called it,

    narciso (d1f714)

  47. @36. Hat-trick:

    ‘Ein Volk; Ein Amerika; Ein Trump.’

    “We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert; we’re so sorry if we caused you any pain…” – ‘Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey’ ‘Wings’ 1971

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  48. whereas you saw wisdom in Brezhnev, disco, and Andropov, well he had a wonderful jazz record collection, forget about Budapest,

    narciso (d1f714)

  49. @48. A musical interlude; ‘and all that jazz':

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  50. Lisha Sterling
    The MAGA hat isn’t about politics in the same way that a swastika emblazoned hat is not about politics.

    Don’t confuse political tolerance with tolerance for white supremacy and violence against women, disabled people, people of color, LGBT people, and anyone else that KKK hates
    __ _

    Stewed Hamm sucks
    It means precisely none of that, but again, you’re welcome to believe whatever you wish.


    Pretty much.

    Lol at so many projecting what a hat means.

    harkin (215a2d)

  51. LOL hats off to the few desperately projecting what it doesn’t mean.

    “They named a brandy after Napoleon, they made a herring out of Bismarck, and the Fuhrer is going to end up as a piece of cheese.” – Col. Ehrhardt [Sig Ruman] ‘To Be Or Not To Be’ 1942

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  52. Yep, those MAGA meetings where they decide how to promote white supremacy and do violence against women, the disabled. people of color and LGBTs (plus everyone the KKK hates) are selling out every time.

    Meanwhile, back on earth……

    harkin (215a2d)

  53. The clothing and hats explain it all. To the RINO/Liberal Establishment wearing a T-shirt with a Communist mass killer on the front is A-OK, but a hat saying “Make America Great Again” well, that’s a little sketchy.

    Of course, they’re not in FAVOR of hitting or spitting or shaming people who wear a hat that supports Trump. But, if someone else does…well that’s just how the ball bounces – isn’t it? Its sorta like their respect for “THE RULE OF LAW”, which constantly varies depending on which law it is, and how they feel at that moment.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  54. There’s absolutely nothing Nazi about Trump or his supporters. But the some Never-Trumpers and Leftist just can’t help saying it. I guess they don’t take the REAL Nazis who killed millions seriously. So now, the word is just a childish joke to them. Like calling someone a “Poopy head”.

    rcocean (1a839e)

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