Jeff Mullin, a senior writer for Oklahoma newspaper The News & Eagle, said that a supporter of Donald Trump recently threatened to assault him at a local steakhouse because his paper had published an editorial in support of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Although the election is over, The New York Times reported that the Trump fan approached Mullin with “fists clenched” and “threatened to beat the hell out of him” while he was waiting in line at the Western Sizzlin in Enid.
“My first thought was just to kind of try to keep things calm. Otherwise, it was going to be two old guys rolling around on the floor of the steakhouse, and that would be pretty unseemly,” the 64-year-old writer explained.
In early October, The News & Eagle published an editorial endorsing Clinton. It was the first time in the paper’s 126-year history that it had supported a Democrat. The decision did not go over well in the deeply red county about 100 miles north of Oklahoma City.
According to publisher Jeff L. Funk, the paper lost 162 subscribers after the endorsement, and gained only one.
As for the incident at the Western Sizzlin, Mullin said he believed at the time that the man might assault him.
“Looking back on it, I think it was all talk, but at the time I thought there was a possibility that he might take a swing at me,” Mullin recalled. “And I thought this is crazy. This is a newspaper endorsement. Some of the people almost seemed hurt. Like, ‘How can my newspaper’ — in a small town like this, it’s their newspaper — ‘do this to me?’ I think there was almost a sense of betrayal.”