A picture of a Donald Trump supporter who is giving what appears to be the Nazi salute outside of Trump’s canceled rally in Chicago has gone viral, but there has been some confusion about the context of that photo.
The New York Times spoke to the woman Saturday, who identified herself as Birgitt Peterson, of Yorkville, Illinois. Peterson, 69, tells the newspaper she attended the Trump rally in Chicago with her husband Friday night out of curiosity.
“The Republican Party needs to be broken up,” Peterson told The Times, “and I believe Donald Trump is the one to do it.”
Trump canceled the rally Friday night because of protests in and around the event that got out of hand. Peterson says that as she was leaving the venue, she found herself surrounded by protesters who reportedly yelled at her and other rally attendees.
Peterson says one of the protesters held a sign that suggested a comparison between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler.
Peterson apparently took offence to that comparison.
“They said Trump is a second Hitler,” she told The Times, “I said do you know what that sign stands for?” Peterson accused the protesters of not knowing “who Hitler really was.” Then she demonstrated the Nazi salute.
Peterson was born in West Berlin in 1946, according to The Times. She became a US citizen in 1982. “Absolutely, I’m not a Nazi, no. I’m not one of those,” Peterson said, after her photo travelled all over the world, causing many to respond with disgust.
The man seen in the photo with Peterson is Michael Joseph Garza, who says he was trying to guide Peterson and other Trump supporters through the crowd Friday night.
On his Facebook, Garza explains his exchange with Peterson:
I walk right up to her and say “Ma’am we have listened to you. We understand this is all a little wild but we have cleared a path for you to leave *my right hand was constantly swinging in motion, showing her the path out we made for her, as shown in the photo*”
She goes, and I quote “Go? Back in my day, you know what we did-“
Bam. Hail’s Hitler.
People from Trump’s camp, including his son, Donald, Jr., had earlier accused Peterson of being a Bernie Sanders supporter posing as a Trump fan, but that has been debunked.
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