Trump supporter: ‘You know nothing about Hitler’

March 14, 2016

GLEN ELLYN, Illinois — The Chicago Tribune photo of her, with her right arm stretched out in an apparent Nazi salute and the Donald Trump logo emblazoned across her chest, went viral before Birgitt Peterson realized she was even on the internet.

Then “Saturday Night Live” featured her in its Weekend Update segment, national news outlets began asking for interviews, and the 69-year-old German immigrant started getting calls from her kids and grandkids saying: “Oma! What did you do!”

But she didn’t do anything wrong, Peterson said at a campaign rally for rival Republican Ted Cruz here on Monday, three days after sectors of the internet that she doesn’t know how to use began accusing her alternately of being a Nazi or being a Bernie Sanders supporter in disguise.

What she did do was push back, she said, against the anti-Trump protestors whose actions led the leading Republican presidential candidate to cancel his planned Chicago rally after she, her husband and thousands of others had waited hours to see him speak.

Don Peterson, Birgitt’s husband, said the incident began when protestors, many of whom were wearing shirts and holding signs saying Trump was equal to Adolf Hitler, began calling them names like “Nazi,” “white supremacist,” and “the KKK.”

“My wife just said: “You are ignorant, you know nothing about Hitler, you can’t compare anybody in the United States to Adolf Hitler, and by the way, you’re doing it wrong,” Don Peterson said.

Beside him, Birgitt chimed in: “So I lifted.”

She described the reaction to her salute “the funniest thing,” with young women saying to each other: “She’s scaring us; she’s scaring us.” But then they started talking, she said, and after a few minutes, they all shook hands and took photos together.

“You gotta do something to get people’s attention,” Birgitt said. “You can’t just give no diddly about what they’re even there for.”

“And when people come and try to get aggressive, you just stand up to them and they’ll stand back down,” Don added.

Birgitt said she hasn’t decided yet between Trump and Cruz, saying she liked them both for the way they stood out from the Republican establishment. She’s not going to stop coming to campaign events despite the weekend’s events because she says she wants to be an educated voter, and she doesn’t want people to think that she’s scared.

And as for the presidential campaign season as a whole?

“It’s nuts,” she said, starting to laugh.

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see