Trump's son apologizes for misidentifying woman who gave Nazi salute as Sanders supporter

The son of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted an apology Monday night about the misidentification of a woman at Chicago's canceled Trump rally as a Bernie Sanders supporter seen in a viral photo giving the Nazi salute.

"Nazi salute woman at Chicago rally wasn't Bernie supporter Portia Boulger — was someone else. Got bad info. My apologies," Donald Trump Jr. wrote, clarifying his support of someone else's tweet about Boulger from two weeks earlier. His apology tweet was retweeted more than 350 times and got more than 1,000 likes.


The woman in the photo taken by a Tribune photographer outside the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion on March 11 is shown wearing a Trump shirt and was identified as Birgitt Peterson, 69, of Yorkville, as reported in a Tribune story the next day. Peterson said she emigrated from West Berlin and has been a U.S. citizen since 1982.

The Ohio woman Trump Jr. called out on Twitter gave her own response on social media.

"Why did it take two weeks for you to apologize? What was your goal (in) all this? Did you think about me or my family?" Boulger tweeted.

"Do you understand the ramifications of your actions? Do you know understand how you caused me a horrible two weeks?" she said in another tweet.

Someone on Twitter asked if Boulger thought if he was genuinely sorry or avoiding a potential lawsuit. Her Twitter response: "Well, it didn't seem very sincere. May want to ask him. Maybe his dad knows. I was taught better that's for sure." Boulger is an organizer for Women for Bernie.

The woman in the photo and her husband defended her actions, saying the salute happened during an argument with protesters. Peterson, a Trump supporter, said protesters told her she was there to vote for Hitler and started giving her the Nazi gesture.

Peterson said she asked them if they knew what the salute meant.

Her husband, Donald, told the Tribune, "So Birgitt decided to teach them to do it.'' He insisted they were not Nazis.

Tribune photographer Jason Wambsgans said he had more than a dozen photos of Peterson giving the Nazi salute but did not see any protesters offering the same gesture and has no photos showing that.

A protester photographed with Peterson, Michael Joseph Garza, disagreed with Peterson's account, telling the Tribune he did not believe the woman was responding to anyone else when she did the salute.

"I went up to her and said, 'Ma'am, please leave, we have understood you, we have made a (path for your exit),' " Garza recalled. "She said, 'Go? Back in my day, this is what we did,' basically, and then she hailed Hitler."

The Tribune's Rosemary Regina Sobol and Gregory Pratt contributed.


Twitter @lvivanco