‘We’re just wearing a cap’: Life as a Donald Trump supporter in the Bay Area

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The Bay Area has long been known as a vast blue canvas in terms of political leanings.

That hasn’t changed. 

But the presidency of Donald Trump might be amplifying this.

The Bay Area has been seen as enemy territory for the president and his supporters say it’s difficult to openly express and show they’re behind him.

The Bay Area is well known for its acceptance of all different kinds of people. 

It’s the birthplace of the counterculture. 

It boasts the oldest Chinatown and Japantown and it’s the unofficial gay capital of the world. 

Despite the Bay Area’s ‘all kinds are welcome’ mentality, how accepting is the region really to supporters of President Trump?

“On a scale of one to ten. One. Not really,” said Silicon Valley venture capitalist and Trump supporter Peter Kuo. 

When he’s not playing his violin, Kuo is a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. 

Kuo is just a few months into his new job as vice party chair of the California Republican Party.

He’s also an ardent supporter of President Trump.

“What I don’t understand about our culture, especially America, is so tolerant and understanding of opposite ideas and yet when they see this red hat everything changes,” he said. 

Kuo says life as a Trump fan in the Bay Area, the Bay Area is pretty hostile.

“If people knew that I’m a Trump supporter they would not only physically attack me, they will unfriend me on Facebook, they say a lot of things that it’s utterly crazy nowadays. You know, yeah,” kuo said.

Here in the Bay Area, surrounding Trump supporters involves this hat.

Many of us know what it says — simply “Make America Great Again.” 

But what is it about this message? 

Isn’t this just a hat? 

Or is it something more?

In January, a San Mateo restaurant owner said anyone wearing the red make America great again hat would be refused service.

The restaurant owner compared the MAGA hat to a Mazi swastika or the white hoods worn by the KKK.

In April, an elderly man was berated for wearing his Trump hat at a Palo Alto coffee shop. 

The woman who confronted the man said the hat represented hate toward brown people.

It was just days before that police say a San Francisco man wearing a MAGA hat slashed another man with a sword for knocking off his cap. 

SFPD shared these pictures of blood on the curb with the bright red hat laying nearby.

“When I see that hat, I honestly just worry about my safety like that is the first and foremost concern,” said Zahra Billoo.

Billoo is the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area Council on American-Islamic Relations — also known as CAIR.

Billoo says people who wear the MAGA hat represent a president who negatively targets members of her community and other people of color.

“When I see someone wearing the MAGA hat, what I see is an endorsement of the white nationalist agenda that President Donald Trump has put forward through his words and his actions,” said Billoo 

Former District 10 candidate for the state senate and MAGA supporter Victor San Vicente says race has nothing to do it.

“People should be proud of wearing this hat instead of trying to criticize it,” San Vicente said.

Tech entrepreneur Kevin McGary agrees.

He says people shouldn’t be confused by his support of Trump. 

He says opposers of the president like to label and box others in. 

“You know, you’re black. You need to be in this particular box and because you’re not in this box because you’re free thinking, you think through these things and you’re actually supporting a president that we don’t support we’re gonna violate your civil rights, we’re gonna bully and abuse you and your friends and neighbors,” McGary said. 

McGary says he just wants to be able to support the president without facing any backlash.

“Just because we may disagree, just because we wear you know paraphernalia that may in some cases be offensive to other people — why can’t those people just ignore it you may not agree but just continue to walk. We’re not doing anything, we’re just wearing a cap,” he said.

But Billoo argues the antagonism is usually done by Trump supporters not the other way around.

“It is not Trump opponents who are in the streets committing hate crimes. It is Trump supporters who are in the streets committing hate crimes,” Billoo said.

After contacting Bay Area police departments and looking up the latest FBI hate crime statistics, KRON4 found there are no specific records kept of MAGA hat related attacks. 

Fear or not, these three Trump supporters say they’re sticking with President Trump and they’ll be working to get him re-elected in 2020.

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