As the protests in the United States continue, Donald Trump has tried to use them to divide the country, and a recent episode in Wisconsin is no exception.
Tim Carpenter, a state senator from Wisconsin, was assaulted at a June 23rd protest and was reportedly knocked unconscious.
I believe this is State Senator Tim Carpenter. Minutes earlier he told us the protesters assaulted him. Then he collapsed walking towards the Capitol. We called paramedics. An ambulance is here now. pic.twitter.com/uUSdKyQ1hp
— Lance Veeser (@lanceveeser) June 24, 2020
Journalist Lance Veeser tweeted out coverage of the local protests, which saw windows of a local youth center smashed, and two statues, including one of Col. Hans Christian Heg, a soldier for the Union in the Civil War and noted abolitionist, torn down.
Veeser also found Senator Carpenter after his assault. Carpenter told Veeser the protesters attacked him, and then collapsed.
Carpenter had his own video evidence of the attack.
I took this pic- it got me assaulted & beat up. Punched/kicked in the head, neck, ribs. Maybe concussion, socked in left eye is little blurry, sore neck & ribs. 8-10 people attacked me. Innocent people are going to get killed. Capitol locked- stuck in office.Stop violence nowPlz! pic.twitter.com/Zw2hdfYG66
— Tim Carpenter (@TimCarpenterMKE) June 24, 2020
The senator was on his way to the Capitol to sign letters to his constituents, when he stopped to take a photo and quick video of the protests. However, upon whipping out his mobile phone, they shouted at him, and some members quickly approached him.
You can hear the strikes and one of the protesters telling Carpenter to delete the video.
On Twitter, Carpenter called for the violence to stop.
Very disappointed to see what happened to my friend Senator Tim Carpenter last night. We have a common purpose to bring justice where it has been long overdue and individuals can’t be reduced to collateral damage in the process, especially those on the proper side.
— Mandela Barnes (@TheOtherMandela) June 24, 2020
The violence and destruction that took place last night in Madison is unacceptable. I am praying for a speedy recovery for my colleague Senator Tim Carpenter.
— SenDarling (@SenDarling) June 24, 2020
News of the incident with Carpenter spread, with some using it to justify stronger responses to the protests.
The incident eventually became such big news that even President Donald Trump brought it up at a Fox News town hall.
He claimed that Carpenter “was probably rooting on” the rioters before he was attacked, and brought up the senator’s sexuality for no reason.
Even for Trump, it was baffling.
"The person they beat up was a Democrat who happened to be gay" — Trump brings up a Wisconsin politician's sexual orientation for no apparent reason at all pic.twitter.com/qCVU4eyOtr
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 26, 2020
He says in the video:
“The person they beat up was a Democrat who happened to be gay and he was probably out there rooting them on or something because Democrats think it’s wonderful they’re destroying our country.”
Senator Carpenter is gay and one of only four openly LGBTQ members of the Wisconsin legislature. However, his sexuality had nothing to do with the attack, nor was he cheering on the protesters before it happened.
It’s almost like Trump is trying to divide people against each other.
— AnonyMissBadger (@AnonyMissBadger) June 26, 2020
Trump lied and said a Wisconsin lawmaker was "rooting on" protesters before they assaulted him — contrary to multiple eye-witness, video and audio accounts of events outside the state Capitol. https://t.co/gNqQY9ugiG
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 28, 2020
Sen Tim Carpenter has been a man of service his entire life. He has been shining light in dark places in WI for some time. There is no excuse for Trump to denigrate this man. Trump is morally unfit.
— Gramma B (@RebeccaNewell7) June 27, 2020
As stated earlier, Carpenter had just stopped to take a photo on his way elsewhere. And despite the President’s claims, and the attack on his being, he is just calling for peace.
He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
“I don’t know what’s worse, the beating or having someone turn something so personal that happened to you and weaponize it against you.”
While carpenter doesn’t support the destructive methods on display at the protest, he does want to help pass legislation that will curb police brutality.
“It seems like there’s a war going on — one on the far left that resorts to violence… and then you have the president of the United States coming to Wisconsin trying to further divide people and lie about what happened.”
You’re so full of crap w/ your false & misleading statement. Nothing I have said has changed. Only phonies and fools like this post seeking to hickjack what happened to fit your own political narrative has falsified less than 48 hours after the situation. You’re embarrassing!🇺🇸
— Tim Carpenter (@TimCarpenterMKE) June 25, 2020
State Sen. Tim Carpenter hadn't yet heard President Trump suggested he was "rooting on" destruction before he was assaulted.
Carpenter tells me: "I don't know whats worse the beating or having someone turn something so personal that happened to you and weaponize it against you"
— Molly Beck (@MollyBeck) June 26, 2020
My dear sweet Annie Coulter, I’m sorry I didn’t recognize that it was you charging me at the MSN riot. I guess that happens when you become irrelevant. XO
— Tim Carpenter (@TimCarpenterMKE) June 26, 2020
Madison Police are asking for information to find the protesters who assaulted the senator. The Democratic party has also denounced the violence, with some asking people to remember why they were protesting in the first place.
At time of writing, the attackers have not been identified.