Trump Diehards Create Their Own Yelp for MAGA-Friendly Restaurants
Will your pizza place protect you from antifa? These Trump fans want to know.
Everywhere they look, Donald Trump’s supporters feel like they’re under attack.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant; Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was chased out of another. Right-wing media outlets are filled with stories of liberals pulling off “Make America Great Again” hats.
Trump supporters have even come up with a term for this phenomenon that has them feeling under siege: “MAGAphobia.”
Now, in a move reminiscent of the “Green Book” guide that listed safe establishments for African-American motorists in the South, hyper-vigilant Trump supporters are trying to build their own guide to MAGA-friendly businesses.
Trump supporters who want to grab dinner but are terrified of getting punched by an antifascist “antifa” activist can pull up the app, “63red Safe,” and find a list of Trump-friendly businesses—or at least ones that don’t discriminate against conservatives.
“I'm trying to position it as an everyday 'where can I go eat safely' app,” Scott Wallace, the app’s founder, told The Daily Beast.
63red Safe works like a conservative Yelp. Instead of reviewing the lighting and ambience, though, the site’s users rate restaurants and other businesses on a series of four questions, including whether the restaurant’s owners make political social-media posts and whether they allow customers to carry weapons.
“Does this business serve persons of every political belief?” the app’s questions read. “Will this business protect its customers if they are attacked for political reasons?”
Wallace, who compares the app to a political “fire inspector,” is confident that the app will grow more popular as 2020 approaches. That’s when, he claims, more Trump supporters will be targeted by what he calls “socialist goon squads,” and businesses will become more interested in protecting their customers over their politics.
“I believe that, between now and 2020, we’re going to see the rise of the socialist goon squad,” Wallace said. “I think antifa was nothing compared between now and what’s coming in 2020. And I’m deeply concerned.”
Wallace says 63red Safe is less about finding pro-Trump businesses, and more about letting conservatives know if they’re in a business that opposes their politics.
“If they’re not political, they’re safe,” Wallace said.
63red Safe has garnered 5,000 reviews since launching earlier this month—a solid start, but hardly enough to cover every hungry Trump supporter’s restaurant needs. The app is part of a larger network of apps that have launched under the “63red” name, including a chat app and a news aggregator that Wallace says has roughly 100,000 monthly users.
It’s not entirely explained how 63red Safe’s reviewers get their information.
Some businesses have earned reviewers’ ire and the “not safe” tag for obvious reasons. Lexington, Va.’s Red Hen restaurant, for example, is listed as “unsafe” on the app after asking Sanders to leave last year.
But other ratings on the app are less obvious. A number of Oklahoma City pizzerias have been rated, but it’s not clear why one pizza place is rated as “not safe” and another as “safe.” Aside from the “safe” or “not safe” rulings, the app doesn’t offer any explanation for why one business is safe and another not.
Wallace is aware that 63red’s apps face long odds of success. Alternative social media networks for Trump supporters and conservatives have struggled with extremist content or a shortage of users. “Donald Date,” a pro-Trump dating site, launched last year and immediately leaked its members’ data.
“We’re committed. This is not yet another a Trump dating site,” Wallace said. “This is not yet another social network.”
Viral news stories aside, it’s not clear whether Trump supporters are really so targeted in public that they need an app to tell them where they’ll be safe. Hate crimes have gone up in Trump’s presidency, but the majority of those attacks were related to race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, not politics.
Wallace, who claims his apps will help conservatives organize ahead of the 2020 election, compares 63red Safe to a fire extinguisher. You don’t always need it, but when you do, you really need it.
“When it counts it can become very important to know beforehand,” Wallace said.