” Conservative essayist Bethany S. Mandel, who has been awash in a deluge of social media abuse since she began denouncing Donald Trump, finally purchased a handgun over the weekend.
“It’s a .22 magnum revolver,” says Mandel, the mother of two young children, who applied for a firearms permit at her local suburban police department after absorbing a fusillade of vile, anti-Semitic tweets and Facebook messages in recent months.
“I’m picking it up,” Mandel says about her firearm, “after the shop’s background check comes back.”
Having practiced at a New Jersey firing range, she prefers a revolver to a pistol because “my aim is far better,” she says.
“My husband [New York Post Op-Ed page editor Seth Mandel] isn’t happy about it,” she says about her new acquisition.
The 29-year-old Mandel, who writes forThe Federalist, a conservative/libertarian website that often inveighs against Trump, is a pugnacious online presence who frequently crosses swords with self-avowed acolytes of the Republican presidential frontrunner.
She has especially tangled with Breitbart News, the rabble-rousing, Trump-friendly website—named for its late founder, culture warrior Andrew Breitbart—that regularly savages the GOP establishment, the media elite, the Washington consultant class, and the Fox News Channel, which it likes to portray as the willing enabler of all these sinister forces.
“When I went to my local police department and applied for the gun permit, they said, ‘Maybe you should stop writing things that make people angry,’” Mandel recounts. “And I said, ‘OK, I’ll give that some consideration.’
‘You have kids. Why would you do that?’
‘Because I want to leave them a world that is worth living in.’”
Yet one can hardly fault Mandel’s feelings of vulnerability. Typical online insults (screenshots of which she provided to The Daily Beast) included “you deserve the oven,” complete with the image of a Domino’s Pizza oven—this from an apparent Trump fan who goes by the Twitter handle @dinguscout.
After Mandel observed: “Another night blocking all the anti-Semites who are helping Trump make American[sic] great again,” a second apparent Trump supporter, @unusr1, tweeted at her: “Missed one, you slimy Jewess.”
It is entirely predictable that, among other news outlets—including The Drudge Report,The New York Times and The Washington Post—the Twitter feeds of Mandel’s Trump-fan assailants often include links to stories on Breitbart News, and even to audio clips from Breitbart News Daily, the SiriusXM satellite radio program hosted by Breitbart executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon and Breitbart News editor in chief Alex Marlow.
Nicknamed “Trumpbart” by detractors, the outlet claims 17 million readers, and is widely seen as a credulous purveyor of Trump’s angry populist, anti-immigration, anti-Muslim message, and as an enthusiastic booster of the reality show billionaire’s candidacy.
Thus Mandel—who prefers Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio or, as a desperate last resort, even Hillary Clinton to Trump—recently engaged in an online skirmish with Breitbart’s Washington political editor, Matthew Boyle.”