Cheryl Boyles is the new face of Trump Derangement Syndrome, and she brought it all on herself.
Boyles, a writer based in Arizona, recently penned a letter to the editor of the Green Valley News to share her life-changing experience at a local Trader Joe’s, and it’s prompting a well-deserved backlash from her Trump-supporting neighbors.
The Green Valley News published Boyles’ musings, titled “The Trump effect?” on August 18.
The past Tuesday, at a Trader Joe’s in Tucson, a male shopper came in wearing a “Trump 2020” t-shirt. My husband and I immediately felt threatened and observed the entire mood of the store shift as well. We quickly and cautiously finished our shopping and moved to the checkout stands.
Before we left, my husband asked our checker – a Caucasian woman – to convey to management the anxiety we had just experienced at suddenly finding ourselves in a confined space with a man who looked the part of a typical Trump-terrorist.
We were not prepared for our checker’s response. Thanking us both profusely, she grabbed my husband’s hand like a lifeline, to gingers flying to check her own neck pulse.
The Trump shopper had just been through her line and her heart was still racing with fear – she actually needed us to help her calm down! I wanted to run after this man and ask if he knew what he had done to this hapless woman, what he had done to us, but of course he knew; that was the point and he’s got plenty of dark-minded company, and that’s the most terrifyingly awful thing of all.
The newspaper was flooded with dozens of responses, and none of them sided with Boyles, editor Dan Shearer wrote in a follow-up op-ed.
“To Ms. Boyles: Hey, get therapy, please,” B. Williams wrote, chiding the newspaper for printing the “made up and embellished story.”
“That man that was wearing the Trump (shirt) was also probably a Second Amendment guy and NRA supporter, and maybe if someone walked into Trader Joe’s to do harm, he might just be the one stepping up to protect the sheep who are afraid of a t-shirt,” Williams wrote.
“What is happening with our world?” another reader wrote. “Maybe these folks need to get home grocery delivery and stay home. Then they won’t feel immediate terror or threatening.”
“Really? How can any sane person feel threatened by someone wearing a Trump 2020 t-shirt?” another wrote. “If you’re that fragile, I suggest you never leave your house. Apparently, there are 60 million-plus Trump supporters out there, so you must quake in fear every time you go outside.”
Others mocked Boyles on social media.
“How stupid can liberals get?” Carmen Noriega wrote.
Angie Anderson posted Boyles’ letter to Facebook, along with a poll from NextDoor that showed 85 percent of readers give her screed a thumbs down.
Anderson also linked to Boyles’ bio on the website Script Revolution, which shows her posing in a pink pussy hat made famous during the so-called “Women’s March” that followed Trump’s inauguration.
In the bio, Boyles said she loves to make things up.
“Long before I could print my name, I was ‘writing’ dialogue. As a child, I did a lot of pretending and talking to myself, but this thrilling process of creating conversation involved editing – the alpha and omega literary love of my life,” she wrote.
Despite the public shellacking, Boyles is defending her letter and insists the incident happened just as she described.
Green Valley editor Shearer wrote:
If you think Cheryl Boyles is curled up in a corner somewhere sucking her thumb, think again.
Boyles is the Green Valley woman whose letter to the editor last Sunday launched an avalanche of criticism. And since this is the opinion page, I guess I can say it: She deserved every word of it.
I told her as much when we talked after Wednesday’s paper came out. We printed 24 letters to the editor, all destroying her overwrought description of a visit to Trader Joe’s in Tucson where she was reduced to, well, snowflake status by the sight of a man in a Trump 2020 T-shirt.
Boyles told me she writes screenplays for a living but this wasn’t one of them. This was the real deal, she said.
“He had a whole look about him and an air about him. It was way more than a shirt … it felt different,” she said. (No more letters, please – we’ve piled on enough.)
I received about 50 letters (and they’re still arriving), lots of phone calls and a few personal visits – including one really rude man who called me a “can’t-use-the-word-in-a-family-newspaper-but-it-starts-with-an-F liberal” before stomping out the door. For shame …
I told Cheryl I printed nothing in support of her position because I received nothing. Zero.
Shearer defended his decision to print Boyles’ letter and said he made no effort to fact-check her claims, because the paper doesn’t fact-check experiences.
“But, sure, I knew she’d get blown out of the water,” he wrote. “Green Valley has a way of taking care of these things and I had no desire to rescue Cheryl from herself.”
Boyles, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to be too awfully heartbroken about the backlash from all the “Trump-terrorists.”
“I don’t internalize it or personalize it in any way,” she told Shearer. “They don’t know me.”