Army veteran Jake Talbot wore a T-shirt emblazed with the message "2016 Trump for President" when he went to the gym Sunday in Troy, Missouri. Owner Lis Drew said gym members took issue with the "offensive" garb, so she asked Talbot — her friend — not to wear it in her establishment. An uproar ensued.
What are the details?
After the incident, Talbot took to Facebook saying, "I just left CDY Fitness here in Troy, working out, and when I was starting, the owner, Liz, came up to me and said that my Trump shirt that I had on was offensive and that I needed to remove it in order to work out there."
He added that he was told the T-shirt was "linked to racism," and that he hates the word.
"Whenever people use it, it's thrown around way too loosely. It's 2019, get the hell over it. It's not racism," he said.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Drew recalled pulling Talbot aside and asking him not to wear the shirt again.
"I said it could be construed as racist," she said, "and several of my members had complained about feeling uncomfortable when he wore that."
Talbot, who had worked out at CDY Fitness for eight years, vowed to never go back and was given a free membership at another gym after his story went viral.
The veteran told KSDK-TV of the incident, "It's a free country. It's what I fight for. I love this country, and I'm very patriotic. That's my commander in chief. He's doing a job and everyone needs to support him. I think he's doing a good job. I'm tired of the split, divide of the whole country."
Drew told KSDK, "I have much respect for all of our service members. I regret that some were offended by this misunderstanding. I was simply attempting to ensure that all of my members felt safe and unthreatened."
The story has garnered international media attention, with the United Kingdom's Daily Mail reporting on the incident, along with numerous U.S. outlets.
Meanwhile, as of Thursday afternoon, Talbot's Facebook post had notched up roughly 1,400 comments from folks on both sides of the issue.