A North Carolina man who sparked consternation among impeachment protesters when he confronted them by waving a flag depicting President Donald Trump as Rambo says he’s not quite sure why they got so riled up.
Sylva resident Rick Wood told a local news station this week that he parked near an impeachment rally held on Jackson County Democratic headquarters on Dec. 17 and exchanged words with the protesters.
Wood said the protesters told him not to park there and cursed at him.
“And of course, I used some abusive language back,” he told ABC affiliate WLOS.
Video of the incident shows Wood pulling his truck up near the approximately 100 protesters who attended the rally.
He then gets out of his truck and waves his flag before speaking to a uniformed police officer.
Thank you WLOS. And thank you Mr Wood. Wish I could of been there to join you. ??????
— Tony woody (@tonywoody1574) December 24, 2019
Anti-Trump protesters were intimidated by the encounter.
Nilofer Couture, the rally’s organizer, told Smoky Mountain News that Wood got out of his truck and waved a “big flag with a picture of Trump sort of like Rambo.”
“He was swearing at us and then he got onto the street and started trying to antagonize us and cause trouble,” Couture said.
But Wood disputes the notion that he was the instigator or that his behavior falls outside of current political norms practiced by sitting members of Congress.
He singled out comments made by Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib earlier this year.
Referring to Trump, she vowed before a crowd of supporters to “impeach the motherf****r.”
“I’ve never seen this kind of hatred for a President in my life,” said Wood. “I wasn’t trying to be intimidating. But I was just kind of using what the Congresswoman used against our President on national TV. And that’s wrong.”
Wood said he doesn’t understand why the protesters were so disturbed by his actions.
“I don’t know why. I mean, just got my flag out and I started waving it like they were waving their sign: ‘impeach Trump,’” he told WLOS.
An officer from the Sylva Police Department promptly responded when the situation between Wood and anti-Trump rally attendees escalated.
“He said I could stay if I wanted to, but he didn’t want me to because it was causing a lot of controversy. I said, ‘I’ll tell you what, you get them over there on their side and I’ll leave,’ and he said ‘alright,’” Wood said.