Home Depot Worker's Anti-Trump Hat Spurs Racist Tirade
Krystal Lake's 'America Was Never Great' cap didn't go over well in Staten Island
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2016 10:29 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Staten Island college student says she's had racist statements and even death threats hurled at her online since she wore an anti-Trump hat to her job at Home Depot over the weekend, the Staten Island Advance reports. Krystal Lake, 22, donned the cap, which read "America Was Never Great," during her Sunday morning shift, a riff on the Trump slogan "Make America Great Again." "The point of the hat was to say America needs changing and improvement," Lake says. "I don't think it's a positive message to say, 'Let's look to the past.'" She also notes that she's sure she rubbed a lot of Staten Islanders the wrong way because the area is such a Trump stronghold. "Trump is very rash and in your face, but when someone else has a message against him, his supporters can't take the criticisms," says Lake, a media studies major at the College of Staten Island.

Regarding the controversy swirling around Lake, who says she had no idea her headwear would go viral, a Home Depot spokesman says that employees aren't allowed to wear items with a political message but that no managers saw it. "Otherwise, they would have had her remove it immediately." But Lake, a Bernie Sanders fan, says she sees co-workers wearing Trump flair, including pins and pendants, without reprimand or reprisal. Lake says she's been bombarded with hate messages, including being called "the N-word left and right" and told "America was great when your people weren't here." She adds she "definitely" intends to wear the hat to work again and balks at suggestions she hates America. "I just wish we would worry about making America better—not 'great again,'" she says. (An Advance columnist's commentary.)