Man who was berated over his MAGA hat speaks out

The Starbucks on California Avenue in Palo Alto and a MAGA hat. Street photo from Google.

Daily Post Staff Writer

It’s rare to see someone wearing a Make America Great Again hat on the Peninsula. In fact, it’s so unusual that a longtime Palo Alto resident named Victor — who was harassed at a local Starbucks over his MAGA hat — says he’s never seen anyone else wearing one in town.

But Victor, a 74-year-old retired technical writer who frequents the Starbucks at 361 California Ave., wears his red MAGA hat over his yarmulke just about every day that it doesn’t rain.

Mostly people don’t remark on it, though he sometimes gets a thumbs up. Sometimes passersby tell him he’s brave to wear it, to which Victor responds that one “shouldn’t have to have guts” to wear a hat supporting the president.

Victor said there’s an “atmosphere of fear” in Palo Alto around openly identifying oneself as a conservative or a Trump supporter.

“People have always been allowed to wear a (political) button or shirt,” Victor told the Post. “Now to wear a Trump button is considered a provocation.”

On two occasions strangers have accosted him about the hat, but both seemed “unbalanced,” he told the Post yesterday (April 3).

Then, on Monday (April 1), 46-year-old Rebecca Parker Mankey approached him at Starbucks, asked him whether he was wearing a Trump hat and then turned to other customers and yelled repeatedly that he was a racist. Mankey didn’t return the Post’s requests for comment.

“I thought she was drunk or on drugs or something,” Victor said. “I’m surprised that the Starbucks manager or someone didn’t call the police with this woman raving in the story like that.”

Thought it was an April Fools’ joke

For a moment, Victor thought Mankey was pulling an “April Fool kind of stunt,” since the confrontation took place on April 1.

It seemed particularly ironic that Mankey called Victor a Nazi, he said, since he is Jewish.

“I would call that just utterly irrational,” Victor said. “Anyone with a high school education should know about the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.”

And Mankey wrote on Facebook it was “really heartbreaking” that she was the only person yelling at Victor.

“She was unhappy that a mob didn’t form in Starbucks,” Victor said. “It’s a credit to the people at Starbucks.”

Mankey posted to Facebook what Victor said was an accurate account of the incident. The post was shared widely among conservatives on social media and made its way to Mankey’s employer, Gryphon Stringed Instruments.

Mankey was fired from her accounting job on Tuesday.

Mankey’s post noted that she wanted to find out “his name, where he lived, his wife’s name and where his kids went to school,” seeming to imply an intent to “dox” him, or publish identifying information about him with malicious intent.

In that way, Victor said the confrontation and its aftermath have been “almost like a fable” or parable.

“Here she is screaming, ‘I’ll destroy you,’ and she gets destroyed,” Victor said. “She doxed herself. I didn’t do anything.”

Says incident reflects division in country

Victor said the incident was indicative of an increasingly divisive political culture in the U.S., where families avoid talking politics at the dinner table and college students protest opposing views rather than listening and discussing the issues.

“When I was in college, you wanted to hear speakers of all different kinds,” Victor said. “America has really changed, and everyone whose head is screwed on right should fight this kind of thing.”

Victor particularly objects to progressives identifying themselves as part of the “resistance” to Trump.

“Trump didn’t come into office by a military coup d’etat,” Victor said. “It doesn’t acknowledge that we have what’s called a two-party system in America.”

Is Trump a racist?

Victor also maintains that Trump has never espoused racist ideas or promoted racist policies.

That includes the time in January 2018 that Trump asked why the U.S. was “having all these people from s***hole countries come here,” referring to Haiti and African nations.

“That’s his opinion. He’s allowed to have his opinion,” Victor said. “These are just ways of talking.”

For Victor, the same goes for Trump’s repeated references to some Mexican immigrants as rapists. In June 2015, for example, Trump said that Mexican immigrants were “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Victor said that Trump meant that if the U.S. lets in “millions of Mexicans without checking them,” some rapists are bound to cross the border.

“If someone says, ‘Yeah, I want to bring back segregation,’ that may be a racist thing,” Victor said. But Trump’s policies and outlandish comments haven’t met that standard, he argues.

But Victor said he’s happy to discuss the issues with anyone who wants to debate them — civilly.


  1. He has a point about an atmosphere of fear in Palo Alto. This town is very unsafe for conservatives. You can’t put political bumper stickers on your car because the vehicle will be vandalized. If you put out a yard sign for a Republican, it will be removed and your house might be damaged. It’s very intimidating. It’s like the Progressives here don’t want to tolerate diverse views. They only want to hear themselves.

    • And Victor Mankey is wearing an article of clothing purposefully promoting hate and racism. If you don’t like living in a Progressive city, I am sure it’s easy enough to leave.

      • Interesting mangling of the facts, there, Palo Altan; especially the part where “Victor” is somehow related to the perpetrator.

        And, Victor does not have to leave since he is a citizen of this country in addition to being a (potential) resident of the area.

        It’s too bad that the Left must force the redefinition of just about anything – words, actions, clothes, people – in order to fit their twisted narrative, even conflating the wearing of a hat (which hat promotes the idea of a better country) with intentional bigotry.

      • No. Victor Mankey is NOT wearing anything promoting racism. Trump nor his supporters do not promote racism. That would be Democrats like Dem gov Northam who wears blackface. Or the DNC which allow illegals into the country so they can steal jobs from the black community. Or liberals like Jussie Smollet that make up hoaxes to try to create hate between white and black people.Its DEMOCRATS THAT PROMOTE BOTH RACISM AND DIVISION.Not Trump who has the highest support from the blakc community then any other recent Republican president despite liberal lies. And your progressive city is in our country. If you don’t like our laws, then you can go elsewhere.
        Otherwise, if you call an elderly Jewish man a Nazi simply because he is against the Corruption and division of the DNC then consider yourself to be the fascist.

      • What racist item is he wearing? And DON’T say “the hat”. That would be ridiculous. It’s inanimate. In addition, even if Palo Alto or wherever is a “liberal OR CONSERVATIVE bastion”, does not give the so-called ruling class the right to ASSAULT or harass or victimize ANYONE within that city. Just have to note your city’s liberal tolerance level of diversity.

      • Cite me specific examples of Pres.Trump being racist, instead of only spewing the typical, hate-filled,knee-jerk generalizations that people like you have to resort to since you lack rational arguments. The MAGA cap stands for pride in America and love for our country, the antithesis of everything that Rebecca Parker Mankey stands for, since by her despicable behavior, has obviously turned into the very type of monster she professes to despise. She’s a classic example of vicious and hypocritical Antifa mentality, bullies clubbing and pepperspraying innocent people while screaming “Fascist, racist, hater”. She called a 74-year-old Jewish man “Nazi scum”. How’s that for fair, open-minded, good-hearted liberalness? Perhaps you and she should bear that in mind the next time you both look in a mirror. And one more thing: how easy do you REALLY think it would be for a senior citizen to just pick up and move? #WalkAway

  2. I always thought that “progressive” also meant “open minded” and “tolerant”. I guess I’m wrong. It’s ironic that progressives are are intolerant as those they dislike.

  3. My Brother who is a combat Vet had the same thing happen to him as well. We live outside of Tampa and he wore his MAGA hat in Starbucks and an employee screamed at him most vile. Telling him to get the F***out of here, called him a racist piece of S***. Told him they didnt serve his kind there. No one is allowed to have an opinion and the irrational behavior is getting worse. What happened to debating and learning from one another. If Im not the same as you Im wrong. Schools have changed histories and teaching division instead of unity.

  4. I wonder how any people of color or queer people might have felt seeing this guy’s hat. He is being provocative and his provocation worked. Her response sounds ultimately counterproductive. A plague on both their houses.

    • I’m astounded that wearing a hat is considered provocative. This IS America.. still.. and people are allowed to wear a hat. It is totally irrational that YOU see this for anything other than free speech.. and I’m posting anonymously too.. because it is scary to have people like you online.

      • So, let me get this straight… something that someone saw someone “wearing” was enough to provoke violence (a confrontation with lots of yelling and name calling = assault by law). Yet if a woman wears clothing that “provokes” a violent response (rape) then the perpetrator is at fault.
        It is politically incorrect to blame the victim of rape, yet the “left” is by this act, justifying the assault on the person wearing the MAGA hat. Isn’t this the same (philosophically) as justifying rape because of the clothes a person wears.
        I smell a huge double standard here as this Mankey woman (by virtue of her pictures) is very outspoken in “her” freedom of speech rights and wanting to silence someone else and assault them because of what they are wearing.

        As an outspoken advocate for the things she supports, she sure talks the talk but in this case, she does not walk the walk. This is the very hypocrisy of “do as I say, not as I do!” coming from the new left.

        Assualt is against the law, plain and simple. She even bragged about it on her facebook page. Why is she not arrested and charged? The line for arrest was when she returned to confront the man a second time and make threats regarding the safety of the man’s family. She has given the police everything they need to arrest her. Her facebook post was a confession of the crime.

        I demand the police take action because this is truly a matter of “Public” safety Likewise, Starbucks should permanently ban this women from the store.

    • Over 7 billion people live on this planet it doesn’t matter you do…someone will will find an opportunity to be offended or play a victim of something…it her problem her unacceptable behavior. Since when is acceptable to harass anyone for their views. She is the aggressor not a victim and need to grow up.

    • Seriously? Why should people of color be afraid of Trump? Yes, Trump doesn’t support men in women’s bathrooms, but he hasn’t done anything to attack the LGTBQ+ community either. The only one attacking either group is the press with their misleading stories.

      • Reasons to be afraid of Trump: A rise in fascism, a rise in racism, the worst US federal economic debt recorded in 2019, a failure of making any political progress (when your job is politics), a failed cabinet, and his relationship to Russia… just to name a few obvious reasons.

        • Trump is doing a lot of good for the country. Obama was suffocating our economy and he had no balls on foreign trade negotiations. You might want to lookup the word fascism before throwing it around.

    • It is in no way provocative. People have lost their minds and are seeing boogey men where there aren’t any. People need some serious mental help.

    • STOP, you are part of the problem. How did you feel about Hope and change? Never incited me to do a freaking thing. I accepted Obama as my president, and i hated everything this charade stood for. I suggest you stop playing this card, obviously isn’t working.

    • You actually don’t know what he’s thinking from what he wears, and it is a mistake to think you do.

      You mention being concerned about people of colour, which is admirable, then promptly judge this person based on how he looks. Do you honestly not see the problem with that?

      Tolerance isn’t for everyone except you. It is for everyone.

    • Wow, you must be the person who always blame girls wear too sexy to put themselves out there being raped. Shame the victim is your strength, right?

  5. Not great but not surprising either. After the constant assault on Muslims, blacks, South American refugees, public schools, environmentalists, poor, public healthcare, and on and on with MAGA cheerleading. Palo Alto, a town with a very high intelligence history is now filled with people who have totally run out of F’s to give them.

  6. Free speech is permitted in this country. And thank God for it. Mankey wants to get rid of free speech, it seems, and abuse and bully and shame those who don’t agree w her views, which seem more totalitarian than progressive. Does this mean she’ll be protesting outside my house, and slamming me on social media, just because I don’t agree w her?

  7. I used to live and work in the Bay Area. I left for exactly this reason. Its becoming fascistic. But ironically its people like Pankey that have created that environment. She walks in and physically threatens and old Jewish man. Yeah thats normal.
    I once loved the Bay Area. I am embarrassed for what its become

  8. I grew up in Palo Alto, in the 50’s & 60’s, leaving for college in 1970. It was like the tv show “THE WONDER YEARS”. I still have family there and when I go back to visit, I’m shocked and saddened by how the radical progressive mindset has taken over a once peaceful and tolerant town. Name calling is the only thing people like Rebecca have, when disagreeing with a position different than hers. What makes her position right and Victor’s wrong and/or vice a versa? A person who is truly confident in their political positions, will take the opportunity to debate an opposing position. An old Chinese proverb says “ Whoever yells first,
    loses the argument”. You lost Rebecca…treat this as a learning experience.

  9. I always liked California, and considered moving there after military discharge. But looking from afar now – it really seems the sate has been taken over by cults, parasites (civil “servants” who run the state for their own benefit), and plantation owners.

    None of this can last. It’s tragic. California, how in the world did you become such an ugly old hag given your history?

  10. That confrontation was not only an attack on the GENTLEMAN (emphasized on purpose), it was also verbal abuse of an elderly person. I am HAPPY she was fired from her now EX-employer. Thank you.

  11. how queer it is of you to see things in that twisted way…
    I’d love to see America made great as it once was before all this nonsense.

  12. If our city council doesn’t repudiate Rebecca Parker Mankey, you can assume that they think her behavior here is OK and that free speech doesn’t exist any longer in Palo Alto. If you say that you support free speech, the most difficult thing you have to do is stick up for people who say things you disagree with.

  13. Isn’t it interesting that STARBUCKS Corp that self identifies as the most ETHTICAL place to work has a manager at the CA AVE store (whos name has been 100 percent concealed) who ALLOWED an aggressive verbally abusive customer to berate and drive a SENIOR from the store? Excuse me? Is
    This yet another shining example of the Tolerance and Inclusion of the Leftist Starbucks Corp policy? Two af American men who were denied use of the STARBUCKS bathroom caused the company to shut down for re-education and new store policy. A paying customer minding his own business is driven from the store and the ONLY ETHICAL RESPONSE —-is from the harassers employer at GRYPHON stringed instrimements! GOOD ON THEM ! Wow
    There is some sanity in ONE store. I grew up in palp alto- atherton. Back in the day it was always liberal but you didn’t have to hide your political expression bumper sticker etc. for fear of being ATTACKED. 8 yrs of Obama I don’t recall a SINGLE Obama supporter wearing Obama swag harassed and driven from any STARBUCKS by a republican. Res ipsa loquitor.

  14. And now a lot of the nuts have moved into the Seattle area and are making it ‘Pacific Northwestern California’. Like parasites they invade the host and attack from within to kill what it was then move on. They are destroying the very thing that made them move here in the first place. It is getting horrible here.

  15. The irony is so thick with this story. A spike haired, ranting fascist confronts the elderly jewish man in public. The rest of the public, and the retail establishment just stand there, and take it! Who among us has studied Germany 1932-38? Does this ring a bell for – well anyone else? We have a way to go before we’re melting conservatives down into soap but come on, aside from her employer, who else has stood up and pointed the finger at the progressives and said “NO MORE!!”. It is an ugly, and vicious road you socialist progressives are on. It WILL end in disaster, but not for the conservatives, but eventually for all of you. Going through life full of hate and vitriol is not culturally redeeming. Fine, have an opinion, make a case, stand your political ground on positions of interest. But – recognize that conservatives, even ones wearing red hats are not an enemy. You do not get to shovel us into the ovens of Auschwitz. Stop now, you’re on the road to disaster.

  16. How about if Mankey travel out to the Central Valley and try to accost someone there wearing a MAGA hat. Or, head over to Montana, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, etc… In many, if not most, states in this country there’s a good chance that if she assaulted someone there, she’d quickly be facing the business end of a handgun and being told to back off.

      • Just saying. It’s easy for her to accost someone when she thinks everyone is going to back her up and the person she is assaulting is a 70+ year old man. She probably wouldn’t be so bold in other parts of the country or even the state.

        She was banking on herd mentality, but she didn’t realize that she was a herd of one.

  17. This is obviously a complicated issue. On the one hand we have the ethical dilemma of deciding when things have gone so far as to make it immoral to remain silent. On the other hand we have a 74 year old man, purportedly Jewish, who is advertising his political support for a man who stands for none of the values that represent the vast majority of the citizens of the community, but who does provide staunch support for Israel. I really am torn but must come down on the side of civility. The lady was wrong and should apologize in person and on her facebook page if it returns.

    • “On the one hand we have the ethical dilemma of deciding when things have gone so far as to make it immoral to remain silent.”

      Wearing a hat is never “going too far”. If all you know about a person is based on their clothes, you don’t know anything at all, really.

      Deciding to verbally assault and threaten an elderly man and his family is the only problem here.

    • I would not presume to state that this is the belief of the VAST majority if the citizens. If it was, then the president would not have been elected in the first place. Secondly, if you were to read many of the comments above, there is an underlying truth: many of your fellow citizens are literally afraid of being assaulted for voicing their political beliefs in the town of Palo Alto (and greater bay area for that matter). I am sure you would be surprised, if not shocked, to know the numbers of people who do not share your exact feelings on various political issues. As a student of history, the modern Democrats seem to be following the NAZI playbook of the 1930’s. Using the group mind think and suppressing opposing views by vilifying the people that hold those views, attacking them and telling them to leave. Reading the confession of Mankey reads like she has already taken those first steps down a very slippery slope.

  18. “You will observe with concern how long a useful truth is known and exists, before it is generally received and practiced on.”
    -Benjamin Franklin

    “Absent that watchdog, the political party with no adults in the room will only continue to ramp up its efforts to destroy civil discourse in our society, because they believe they cannot win back political power through civil behavior.”

  19. Liberals Are Far More Likely To Commit Crime.
    This dramatic chart is both compelling and astonishing:

    Dartmouth Survey Finds Democrat Students Are the Most Intolerant

    “also are much less likely than Republican students to study and work on course projects with those of differing ideology”…

    “The vast majority of politically motivated violence is perpetrated by the left …”
    Breaking News! Far Left: Immature & Entitled – MORE at 11!

    “When you believe you are morally superior, when you have dehumanized those you disagree with, you can justify almost anything.”

  20. What I think about MAGA hats, Donald Trump, or this lady’s behavior doesn’t matter. If the lady assaulted the man at Star Bucks, she can be arrested. But I don’t see any basis whatsoever for the lady to be fired from her accounting job in response to her behavior at Star Bucks. What is this country becoming? I do believe that the US Constitution allows all persons to have and voice opinions within the confines of the law. If a person can lose employment for voicing opinions outside of work, that seems very contrary to the protection of free speech.

    • Maybe her employers, who confess they’re also Anti-Trump, could hardly fail to notice her actions, both during and after the SBucks incident, were the actions of someone of the unhinged variety to say the least.. and most likely well on their way to the “Hotel Psycho-Villa”..
      “where the rooms are padded
      and the meds are free”
      “Yet you may never leave”

      A small, well established local business having an infamous local metal-patient behind the counter could potentially put them out of business. (I once sacked this guy that played as Santa Clause each year, at our “locally” owned Hotel.. turned out he had an inkling for real Ho Ho Ho’s sitting on his knee.. all year round!..) Like I say, very bad optics!.. These employers were 100% justified in getting rid of her.. morally and financially!.. they were already starting to take flak because of that Sonic looking, deranged tattooed fuckwit! Remember it’s easier to fight assholes and critics when you have truth and integrity on your side..

  21. Be a friend and set a trend. How? Make America great again. By singing songs by the band America. Tin Man, Horse with no name, Ventura high way and Sister Golden. You can do magic by making America great again. Why not?

  22. Victor Mankey is actively wear and promoting hate speech by wearing a MAGA hat and pretending it’s just “politics” as usual.

    • @Palo Altan – Read the article and get your facts straight. You mashed up the names of the two people involved.

      A hat is not hate speech. Calling him a Nazi, a racist and an a-hole is hate speech.

      In addition, when did Mankey become the gatekeeper of Palo Alto. This is not her town.

  23. No question, Trump is a racist. And the MAGA hat is a symbol of racism, xenophobia, and authoritarianism. The slogan “Make America Great Again” doesn’t make any sense, except for those people who think that there was once a time, when “America” was “Great”, in contrast to present day (that is implied by the “Again”). When was this supposed to be? Before civil rights? When there was segregation? Or when there wasn’t any 14th Amendment (birthright citizenship)? With respect to which Trump publicly announced not long ago that he wants to erase it.

    And wearing a MAGA hat over a yarmulke (which, I suspect, couldn’t be seen) is something that indicates to me that the person is not fully clear in his head, since this is a full contradiction. Especially considering that KKK, white nationalists/supremacists are among the strongest supporters of Trump, especially for his anti-immigration policies that further their goal that the United States are a country mostly of and for “white” people.

    • When this country was founded it was a symbol of freedom for the whole world. That means freedom to voice opinions without fear of repression. It means that any person of any race can come here and succeed to make a better life for themselves with a little grit and hard work. The left does not stand for those values any longer. All I hear from the left is White man Evil, You don’t have to work if you don’t want to – we’ll give you stuff, all similar rubbish.

      • So much projection without any self-awareness. You seem to believe that your right to “voice opinion”, e.g., provoking other people by wearing a MAGA hat, which is a political-ideological statement of support for Trump & Co’s policies, means also to have the right that no one opposes you and that everyone else must be silent instead, when you do that. (Or be punished otherwise?)

        The right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness are indeed supposed to be valid for every human person. But, for the matter of fact, it is Trump, his party, and his followers who are the ones who reject these principles. Obviously, they don’t believe that any person of any “race” can come here to the United States and try his/her luck. This is evidenced by Trump’s anti-immigration policies and all the hate- and fear mongering against immigrants who are coming to US. Now, when the majority of immigrants are not “white” people from Europe anymore, but people of color from other parts of the world, especially Hispanic people from South and Central America. Instead, those immigrants are being disparaged as “rapists”, “criminals”, an “invasion”, or an “infestation” by Trump and his followers.

        • Ahh, but immigration without following the law is wrong. What’s wrong with the rule of law and vetting people? – every other country in the world at least does that.
          A MAGA hat is not a provocation unless you’re triggered. Getting the face of someone and yelling hysterically at them because they are wearing a certain hat and showing his options is assault, it is also free speech, but I guess you don’t care about laws.
          Screaming down someone with different opinions shows no love and hardheartedness. If you defend this behavior then you are part of the problem.

  24. Ok look people..this country is based on free speech. A hat is part of that freedom. Anywhere in America including Palo Alto. My Filipino American wife & I are chomping at the bit to retire from our local nursing jobs & Ate heading to the South of Italy where we can sip espressos & take the local bus to Roman ruins. Our nights filled with ‘pasiegetta’ (evening strolls) arm in arm & and late night dinners filled with conversation. Good bye the wall.

  25. This guy was yelling at poll workers the last election. He berated a poll worker because there was not a Republican running for Senator. He was cussing.

  26. I am related to Vic. Our politics and our religious views are almost completely different. I must admit, the MAGA hat is embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as the behavior of this woman to my politics. Her actions not only betray the cause, they actually betray the fundamentals. I do empathize with her frustration. Adopting a civil discourse in today’s America is not easy i.e. this very comment section. I do NOT empathize with her threats to my family! Also, calling an old Jew a nazi was in extremely poor taste, to say the least.

  27. I don’t necessarily agree with the ideas behind that hat but I have no issue with people wearing them. I have my own beliefs but I don’t put them above anyone else’s. Then again, I don’t think that I have ever been offended by anything. I’m definitely far from being a Trump supporter but if the man is proud of his President, let him show it. Don’t like it? Ignore it 🙂

  28. Calling a 74yo Jewish man a Nazi is the allegory for how the left has stupefied itself. This is what remains after civil discourse, research, analysis and consideration of all viewpoints gets thrown out the window. This is what the intolerant left has become.

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