GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A former University of Florida football player claims he was attacked last week at a Gainesville restaurant for wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat.
Danny Weldon, the chairman of the Florida Federation of College Republicans who saw limited action for the Gators in 2018, posted his account of the attack on Facebook on July 5. He said it happened the night before when he was surrounded by people at Pita Pit.
The incident report released by the Gainesville Police Department contained minimal details aside from the time and location of the incident. Acting Chief Inspector Jorge Campos said the police department is currently investigating the 22-year-old’s complaint.
At first, Weldon said the group yelled at him and called him names because he was wearing a cap and pin displaying President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan. To which he replied by taunting them about the 2020 election. Then, he said, things took a violent turn.
"The 4 or 5 girls start pushing me and punching. I’m a former college linebacker so I can take a hit and it’s not a big deal right? But one snatched my hat and tried to throw it away while another ripped my pin and tossed it," said Weldon, adding that he spoke with police after.
Weldon said he was "disgusted" to learn from a police officer that it was not the first time someone was beaten for wearing pro-Trump gear on campus. He said he had seen "similar situations" of "violent" people lashing out at conservatives at the school.
"They didn’t know me but what I wore made them so angry that they attacked me," he said. "I’m never going to back down from supporting President Donald J. Trump!"
In response to a reporter’s question about the frequency of attacks on Trump supporters, Campos said the agency handles multiple disputes and disturbances with varying motives daily: "The circumstances described by Mr. Weldon in the news reports are rare in Gainesville."