A Vermont man whose Trump 2020 flag was torn down and burned by vandals last year has been replaced by the presidential administration, and he plans to raise it with quite the celebration.
Gus Klein, a military veteran and resident of Burlington, Vermont, made headlines back in November when his story went viral. His Trump 2020 flag was snatched from his front porch, burned and left destroyed for he and his wife Anne-Marie to discover the next morning.
Eric Trump caught wind of the incident and promised a new flag would be sent to Klein. Soon after, he received a call from the Trump campaign headquarters.
"He said, 'Mr. Klein, you shut down the whole campaign team for the whole day. We have been looking for you,'" Klein told WCAX.
It took a while, but Klein has finally received his new flag, along with a handful of surprises he plans to pass down for generations to come. There were a number of flags, t-shirts, campaign buttons and even a hat signed by President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
"I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it," Klein said. "So this is going to be like a family heirloom."
Today, January 12, Klein plans to raise his new Trump 2020 flag with a bit of fanfare. He and his wife are holding an event at their home open to the public, and will be joined by Vermont Congress runner-ups: Republicans Anya Tynio and Lawrence Zupan. As the Kleins proceed to raise their flag, a bagpipe will play.
Although the family feels especially honored to have been sent such a personal package from the president, the last few months have not been easy. In additional the original vandalization, the Kleins say they've received numerous death threats since their story went viral.
"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.
Having their personal property destroyed was also traumatic, especially for Ann-Marie, who called the incident "violent" and "scary" at the time.
Gus added that there was "fear" that they couldn't sleep peacefully on their own property anymore. Addressing the vandals, Gus said, "Don't slither around in the hours of darkness. Come out and be a man or a woman and do the right thing."
Police later apprehended two teenage girls, aged 14 and 15, for the vandalization. Their cases are being handled by an alternative justice program, and is being characterized as unlawful mischief.
Despite the incident, the Kleins remain hopeful that their community will allow them to fly their flag, and agree to disagree.
"I still have faith in people and Vermonters letting us fly our flag freely without any issues or problems," Ann-Marie Klein said.
If not, Gus added that he won't be backing down. "It probably fired me up a little more," he said.