Therese Duke is a Trump advocate and a nurse who attended the Capitol rally. She just lost her job over a bloody confrontation with a BLM supporter there. She fears she will never be employed as a nurse again. Duke was punched in the face by a black security guard named Ashanti Smith. A video went viral after her BLM supporting teenage daughter publicly shamed her for being at the rally and getting into a confrontation with Smith.
Duke stated that she was innocently “looking for a place to eat” in Washington, D.C., with “like-minded” Trump supporters when they were accosted by counter-protesters near the White House. This happened the night before the Capitol rally. She was bloodily punched in the face by the security guard and her sister was arrested for retaliating against the alleged attacker.
“I did nothing wrong,” Duke told the Boston Herald. “I was the one who was assaulted.”
The video went massively viral and then her 18-year-old daughter, Helena Duke, mocked her mother and outed her as being the woman in the video now seen more than 12 million times.
“Hi mom remember the time you told me I shouldn’t go to BLM protests bc they could get violent…this you?” her daughter asked. Many were sickened by the daughter turning on her mother in such a public fashion.
Duke has been “getting threats” and UMass Memorial Health Care confirmed online that she is “no longer a part of our organization.”
The nurse said she felt “forced” to resign from her job of 15 years, although the Herald noted that in an online fundraiser she had admitted she had been “relieved from my employment pending an investigation.”
Now, she faces the possibility that the notoriety of her assault and public flaying will keep her from working as a nurse ever again. Because of the Internet, the media, and social media, she alleges she could be black-listed permanently.
“Anybody can Google me,” she told the Herald. “Nobody will hire me.”
Duke defended traveling to D.C. to “support Donald Trump and prevent communism and socialism,” calling it “a last-ditch effort to show support because we know the vote was stolen.”
She believed “no one wanted violence” and stressed that none of her group were involved in the next day’s riot or storming of the Capitol.
Her daughter now feels “some guilt” at what has happened to her mother after she outed her, but also feels that she “should be held accountable for her actions.”
Helena claims she decided to expose her mother because of her past conduct, including kicking the daughter out of the house for attending Black Lives Matter protests last year.
“At first I was kind of uneasy about it, but I think it was definitely so hypocritical of her to end up kicking me out of the house for going to peaceful protests because she assumed they’d be violent and then end up going to this, which was obviously a very violent attack on the Capitol — and end up harassing a cop,” she said, referring to Smith.
“Her actions were appalling and I did not think she could possibly stoop this low,” Helena told Newsweek. “Seeing her harass a black woman and attending a violent event is very hypocritical of her.”
— UMass Memorial (@umassmemorial) January 8, 2021
UMass states that it does not comment on personnel matters. A spokesman said, “Advocacy and/or, protest outside of work that do not violate our policies and standards of respect are not grounds for employee discipline.”
The security guard, Ashanti Smith, has lost her job as well. She was arrested and charged with simple assault. She pleaded not guilty during an arraignment that same day, court records show.
After being charged with assault, Smith spoke out to insist she punched Duke in the face in self-defense.
“I feared for my life. I’m hearing, “Hang her, we’ll kill her, she deserves to die,”‘ Smith told WHUR-FM on Thursday.
“She kept trying to take my phone and take my mask off because I kept asking them to stay away from me, stop following me, and stop being so close in my personal area,” Smith said.
Smith claimed that many in the pro-Trump crowd that had gathered at Black Lives Matter Plaza were calling her the N-word and accusing her of being Antifa.
Video from the incident shows that after Smith threw the punch, the Trump supporters pushed her back toward a wall of cops, who used pepper spray to break up the fight.
Duke’s sister, Anne Lorenz, was arrested and charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer for allegedly punching Smith twice, according to a police report obtained by the Herald. She pleaded not guilty during an arraignment on Jan. 6.
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