Just when it seemed like President Trump's most loyal supporters couldn't possibly spiral further out of control after a group of insurgents organized a deadly siege on our nation's capital last week, the far-right has found a new, cruel way of furthering their cause -- mutilating vulnerable marine life with the name of their dear leader. Earlier this week, a poor manatee was spotted swimming in Florida's Homosassa River, near the state's Gulf Coast, with the word "TRUMP" carved into its skin, The New York Times reported. Because nothing says 'Make America Great Again' like physically abusing beloved, slow-moving sea mammals?
Since the defaced manatee was spotted on Sunday, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have launched an investigation into the matter, with The Center for Biological Diversity offering a $5,000 reward for conviction-resulting information on "the cruel and illegal mutilation" of the creature. "It's heartbreaking that this manatee was subjected to this vile, criminal act," the group's Florida director, Jaclyn Lopez, told the publication on Monday. "It's clear that whoever harmed this defenseless, gentle giant is capable of doing grave violence and needs to be apprehended immediately."
Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service noted that the animal appeared to not be seriously harmed, clarifying that the "word was written in algae on the animal's back," officials are still abhorred by the crime and are looking for kelp as they solve this case. "This abhorrent action goes beyond the bounds of what is considered cruel and inhumane," senior Florida representative for the Defenders of Wildlife, Elizabeth Fleming, explained. "I'm disgusted that someone would harm a defenseless creature to send what I can only assume is a political message. We will do everything in our power to help find, arrest and successfully prosecute this coward."
Manatees are federally protected by the federal "Endangered Species Act" and on a state level, under the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978. In other words, this perpetrator is not only shellfish, but also clearly boneheaded, as they face punishments including a $50,000 fine and a year in prison, if federally convicted.
So, folks, less than a week following an instance often described as an act of domestic terrorism on the United States capitol, it seems five deaths aren't enough to satiate the right's misguided anger. So please, stay safe. Keep your friends close -- and your manatees closer.