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Woman who denounced Trump is mailed KKK symbol

An Arlington woman who wrote a letter to the Boston Globe denouncing Donald J. Trump’s initial reluctance to disavow a former Ku Klux Klan leader said she received a copy of the KKK’s symbol in the mail.

Louise Mayerson, 84, who left her native Austria as a child when her family fled the Nazis, said she received an aonmyous envelope in the mail shortly after her letter to the editor was published in the Globe on March 2.

“My outrage grows and grows and grows,” Mayerson said in an interview. “And it’s flamed by the irresponsible actions, frankly, of Donald Trump.”


In her letter, Mayerson described herself as “an Austrian refugee from the time of Hitler” and said the Republican presidential frontrunner’s “failure to immediately repudiate [former Klan leader David] Duke chilled my blood.”

Days later, Mayerson said, she received an envelop containing a copy of the KKK symbol that featured a square white cross set against a red backrop. The envelope was postmarked from Boston, she said.

“I believe somebody just read that letter, it touched a nerve, and that’s the way they reacted,” Mayerson said.

Mayerson contacted Arlington police, who are investigating the incident, Chief Frederick Ryan said. He declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

Arlington police have increased patrols on streets in Mayerson’s neighborhood. The department also reported the incident to the town’s Human Rights Commission, which assists hate-crime victims, Ryan said.

Mayerson praised police for their response. She lamented the “poisonous atmosphere that has been created” in public discourse that “can lead to some pretty unpleasant things for all of us.”

Robert O. Trestan, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, echoed her sentiment.

“The more that hateful and denigrating speech becomes commonplace in the public realm from leaders, the greater the likelihood that people will start acting up, whether it’s harassment via the mail or violence,” he said.


Asked for comment, a Trump spokeswoman did not comment directly on the Arlington incident, but said the candidate has disavowed Duke.

“Mr. Trump has disavowed David Duke, the KKK and all other groups that espouse similar views. He will continue to do so,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks wrote in an e-mail to the Globe.

Mayerson wrote the letter in response to an interview Trump gave to CNN last month when he was asked about Duke, a former Louisiana legislator and vocal supporter of the businessman’s campaign.

“Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke,” Trump told the network. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.”

Trump later said on Twitter, “I disavow.”

Material from the New York Times was used in this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.