Democratic rep reconsiders wearing trademark hats because of 'racists who taunt me'

Democratic rep reconsiders wearing trademark hats because of 'racists who taunt me'
© Greg Nash

Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonHouse passes bill establishing commission to study racial disparities affecting Black men, boys Florida county official apologizes for social media post invoking Hitler  GOP struggles to confront racial issues MORE said she is reportedly reconsidering wearing her signature hats after a telephone threat from an individual who said her trademark headwear helps her to stand out.

“My hat is so much a part of me,” Wilson told the Miami Herald. “But I will decide day by day, event by event and city by city. Safety first. The hat has become a rallying call to right-wing zealots and racists who taunt me. It’s hurtful, but I know how to fight.”

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Wilson, who has donned colorful hats since her first term in Congress, reconsidered her hats after she got a call at home from an unnamed individual after joining a group of congressional Democrats in their July 2 visit to the Homestead, Fla., migrant detention center, the Herald reported.

The individual was angry about Wilson’s comments regarding the discovery of a secret Facebook group with upward of 9,000 members — including Customs and Border Protection agents — who joked about dead migrants and included an edited image of a smiling President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' MORE forcing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez's 2nd grade teacher tells her 'you've got this' ahead of DNC speech New poll shows Markey with wide lead over Kennedy in Massachusetts Ocasio-Cortez celebrates 'squad' primary victories: 'The people triumphed' MORE’s (D-N.Y.) head toward his crotch.

Wilson told a reporter that the page was a disgrace and said the person who posted the photos should be prosecuted, the Washington Times reported.

But the caller said the Border Patrol agents’ page was protected under the First Amendment and added that her hats made her easy to track down, according to the Herald.

“I felt I was in danger. No one has ever done that,” Wilson told the newspaper. “He said, ‘Everywhere you go, we’re going to tell people to look for the hats.’ So I decided I’m going to stop wearing hats that create attention for myself. Now I’m not wearing them when I think I can be targeted.”

Wilson, who owns hundreds of standout hats, has reportedly stopped wearing them with family members and has increased security in recent weeks, the Herald reports.

She added that some of the recent rhetoric stems from the White House in light of comments from Trump, including his recent remarks telling four minority congresswomen to “go back" to where they came from: "It’s unbelievable and it’s emanating from the White House. ... It’s coming from the top.”

Wilson was also subject to a death threat earlier this month when a Pentagon cybersecurity contractor threatened to kill her after she introduced a vaccine bill in the House.