New Trump flag from White House for Vt. family targeted by vandals
An update to a story you heard first from WCAX News. Gus Klein, a military veteran and Burlington resident, says his Trump 2020 flag was taken off the flagpole on his front lawn in November, burned and then left on his front porch.
After we shared his story, Klein says his family received death threats. Then, the president's son reached out to him on Twitter. Eric Trump promised to replace Klein's vandalized Trump flag.
Next, came a phone call from Trump campaign headquarters in Washington
"He said, 'Mr. Klein, you shut down the whole campaign team for the whole day. We have been looking for you,'" Klein said.
But a few weeks went by and the care package never came.
When a follow-up phone call to check in on the family came and they said they never got their flag in the mail-- it was there the next day.
"I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it, Ike," Klein said.
Flags, shirts, bumper stickers and even a hat signed by the president and vice president.
"So this is going to be like a family heirloom," Klein said.
It hasn't been all presidential treatment. The Kleins left the burned Trump flag hanging outside and say they've received death threats since their story went national.
"I hear on the other end some expletives, profanity, I guess, with the letter F. 'F you Trump fan, I'm going to kill you,'" Klein said.
And Klein says while his car was parked in Richmond, someone ripped his Trump bumper sticker off his truck.
"I don't know what gives people the right that they feel they can get in your own personal property and do something," he said.
Police say they've identified the teenage girls who burned the flag. And the Kleins hope their neighbors will respect their politics.
"I still have faith in people and Vermonters letting us fly our flag freely without any issues or problems," Ann-Marie Klein said.
And if the vandalism was supposed to threaten or intimidate or shame them for supporting Trump, they say it didn't work.
"It probably fired me up a little more," Gus Klein said.
The Kleins say they are excited to raise their new Trump flag Saturday and they are having an event to celebrate. It starts at 1 p.m. at their home on North Ave. in Burlington and they say the public is welcome. Republicans like Anya Tynio who ran against Rep. Peter Welch for Congress and Lawrence Zupan who ran against Sen. Bernie Sanders plan to attend. There will be a bagpipe entrance as the Kleins raise the flag.