Karen Fonseca, the Fort Bend woman with the very large “FUCK TRUMP AND FUCK YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM” sticker on her truck, has a lot going on these days.
For starters, there’s her new FUCK TRUMP bumper sticker and merchandise business, dozens of media interviews to deal with, and a potential civil rights lawsuit against Troy Nehls, the Fort Bend sheriff that made the Facebook post about pressing charges against Karen for her Trump sticker.
Karen graciously took some time out of her day to answer our questions about her new FUCK TROY NEHLS AND FUCK YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM sticker, what life in Stafford is like for her now that she’s an internet celebrity, and where she’s getting all these enlarged vehicle decals from.
Free Press Houston: Hi, happy Thanksgiving.
Karen Fonseca: Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. Sorry for being late, I had to get my kids home. A few are outside skateboarding but the rest are inside now. The older girls are outside skateboarding.
FPH: No worries. How is it over there in Stafford? After all the “Fuck Trump” commotion, I mean.
KF: It’s great! We have people every day telling us “we’re looking out for y’all.” The media is calling me all the time. The person living in the apartment above us, every time he sees me he shakes my hand. Another person who lives here, I’ve never met him before, but he was leaving the parking lot and he saw me and backed up with his BMW convertible. He said “I support you 100 percent.” He told me that his wife and him were in Dallas and they saw me on the news and his wife said that they had to get back to talk to me. They drove all night back from Dallas to come talk.
FPH: So it sounds like this has given you some new friends?
KF: Oh yes. On my Facebook I have 2,000 new friend requests, I’ve accepted maybe 500. I have 2,000 more to review.
FPH: How do you review them?
KF: I screen them to see if I should add them or not. On the Messenger I have 1,750 new messages since Sunday. They’re coming from Australia, Canada, all over the world. I’ve only viewed a few and they go half and half, positive and negative. If they’re negative I don’t even look at them. Why would I even look at them? I’m not here for the people that don’t want to recognize what this world is missing. I’m here for the people who want to make it go forward.
FPH: So, tell me about that sticker. When did you get it?
KF: We had the sticker on there for 11 months. No one said anything. People noticed it, but it wasn’t like it is now.
Before I’ve had police officers pull me over because of the complaints. Stafford Police Department stopped me, I’ve had Sugar Land police, Harris County, Rosenberg — all of them said “we’re going to have you remove that and cite you a ticket if you don’t.” And I would say “OK, that’s fine.” If they could show me in the law books where there’s a code for that I’ll sign that ticket and go along with it. Nobody could show me where there’s a code — which I already knew because I worked for the law. One officer, he looked for almost 45 minutes. He stood there right in front of me! They have a law book with them, and he stood there and looked. But I know that book backward and forward because I used to work for the law.
FPH: You used to work for the government?
KF: I worked for the state and for the sheriff’s office. I know that code back and forth and I knew that nobody could get me to take that sticker off. The First Amendment protects me. And these officers who pulled me over back then, they said they had received multiple calls about it. They were really nice about it though. Most of them said they didn’t really want me to have to remove it. One time I was at a red light in Harris County and some police next to me flashed their lights and so I rolled down my window and they asked me to go ahead of them so they could take a picture.
FPH: What’s your job now, by the way?
KF: It’s driving and transporting goods to different people. I’m just going to leave it at that, if that’s OK with you.
FPH: You transport goods?
KF: Like groceries, medicines, things they need that they can’t get on their own. It’s a company. But they didn’t ask to be a part of any of this, so I don’t want to put them out there. It’s a good job because I can take my kids with me. I have 12 kids. Eight girls and four boys.
FPH: Were there any repercussions from your employer because of all this?
KF: I had no repercussions. I would have voiced my rights if there would have been.
FPH: Why did you decide to get the sticker in the first place? And how? Did you order it from somewhere or what?
KF: Before this big sticker we had another sticker on my husband’s truck. It was smaller — a round oval sticker that said “Fuck Trump.” And when we got married last December, our truck was stolen the same day we got married in San Antonio.
FPH: No way, that sucks.
KF: Yes, it was stolen. And all of our presents and everything. It was around Christmas. It was the same week, December 23, and we had all the presents to give the kids. Everything was stolen. At a prominent hotel in San Antonio. It was was the day we walked to the courthouse to get married. We came back, and we were going to put some stuff back in the truck. And it was stolen. So there was a little bit of conflict there. It didn’t do anything to us, but it just raised our hairs because all the Christmas presents were in there.
FPH: I’m so sorry about your truck and the presents, that’s terrible. Did anyone get caught?
KF: San Antonio Police Department has a file on it, but they haven’t caught anyone yet. I’m sure that truck is already impounded, and whoever took it sold the parts. It’s been a year, we’re not going to find that truck. We came back and rented a car for eight weeks.
FPH: So the truck that got stolen, that was the one with the original, smaller sticker?
KF: Correct, the circle decal. And so when we did purchase this new truck, in about February 2017, my husband said “Look, let’s get a new sticker. But let’s get it enlarged.” And I said, “Yeah let’s do it. Put it on the back.”
We’re both opposed to Trump. Trump should have never become president of the US. He’s more of a businessman, that’s his position in life. But to rule this world and set values and guidelines for us to live by? We were all starting to come together slowly, all nationalities, that’s my opinion. Then Trump became president and all of a sudden, he’s trying to divide everyone again. And make us not believe we’re not one.
FPH: Who’d you support during the election?
KF: I supported Hillary. She would’ve been our first woman president ever. But at the same time, I don’t feel that we had two good candidates. But to choose between the two, that’s who I chose. Putting Trump up there was a big downfall for all of us.
FPH: Why did you want to get the sticker enlarged? Have you gotten other stuff enlarged? Take me back to that moment.
KF: We just got it enlarged by someone we know, we weren’t hesitant at all. He wants to remain anonymous, so I won’t say who it is, but it’s the first sticker we’ve had enlarged. We just decided to do it. If you want to make a statement, when you feel proud about what you’re saying, that’s how you present it.
Trump was already elected into office at that time, and that was our opinion. We stand behind it. I feel like my high school educated daughters are on the same level as Trump as president. When he can go on live TV and say the statements he’s been saying and degrading women — us women have fought so hard to get the rights we have today. From my perspective, he wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for a woman. But he goes on TV and degrades us like that? Women have come a long way in society and he’s very degrading to women.
FPH: Is that the biggest turnoff about Trump for you?
KF: Another thing is all this stuff about building that wall.
FPH: He does talk about that a lot, doesn’t he.
KF: He talks about it all the time. It’s going to cost taxpayers millions and millions to build that wall. He’s breaking up some happy families, and I’m a diversified kind of person. I agree with every denomination. I don’t see skin color on a person, I look at the person’s heart. That’s what a lot of people miss out on. God put us on this world with a lot of different colors, and there’s a lot of good in everyone.
FPH: So, have there been any negative reactions to your sticker?
KF: We never had any negativity ‘til it was all brought forward in Troy Nehls’ post on Facebook. It’s never ever been escalated ‘til now.
Mostly everything is positive, except for online. I do a lot of shopping for my job, and everyone I see is so positive. I was stopped at a red light and this lady was putting her window down and she said “Girl you go, keep that dream alive for us.”
FPH: You were arrested, right?
KF: Yes, first all this publicity came about the sticker. The next day I was arrested.
FPH: I read that was for an outstanding warrant.
KF: Yeah. I was at a Chinese place down the street, I had called in an order. I was getting rice and rolls and some Wonton Soup and I turn around, and there was an officer behind me. It was almost like they tracked me down. He told me to go to my house, park the vehicle, and you’re going to be arrested. But any other questions with that I have to defer to my attorney.
FPH: What was the warrant for?
KF: I can’t get into details with that because I’ve been advised by my lawyer to not answer them. I’m supposed to defer all those questions to him.
FPH: Bring me to the second phase of this, when you put the sheriff’s name on your truck. How do you even have enough room on your truck?
KF: Oh, we have enough room. And when I put Troy Nehls’ name up there, that’s just my feelings about Troy Nehls. Not his family. Not his children. I never want kids involved. But he put me on blast, so I’m just doing the same for him. When he exposed me and my family, he put us in big jeopardy without thinking about anything but his political gain.
FPH: Do you think the whole thing boils down to that?
KF: Yes, that’s what I think. He claims he’s had numerous calls about my sticker, but it’s been on for 11 months! He wanted to put himself on blast for public attention. The question is why was I questioned about this sticker now? It’s because he’s running for congress. It’s all a way to gain attention.
FPH: You have to give it to him, though. It’s kind of strategic.
KF: Yeah, it’s a good move. He’s got a lot of motivation behind him.
FPH: Do you think that some people might respond positively to what he’s doing?
KF: There’s a lot of Republicans out there. Lots of Trumpkins. And they’re going to go for him and I can’t change that. That’s their opinion. The bottom line is he went the wrong way about doing this. He put my family on blast.
FPH: How is your family handling all this attention, by the way.
KF: I’m sitting in my daughter’s car, she’s sitting here with me. My daughter Lacey Lev.
FPH: Oh really. What does she think about all this? Can you put her on?
Lacey Lev: Hello?
FPH: Hi Lacey. So, how’s it been for you?
LL: It doesn’t bug me. People just are always texting me on Facebook and stuff. It’s really funny to us. It doesn’t bother me, we already thought of my mom as a celebrity. People already talk about us in public because we have such a big family. But yeah, it’s crazy. I woke up one morning and this was all over the internet, my mom is all viral. I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting my boyfriend to go viral one day, he makes music, but not my mom.
FPH: Were you ever embarrassed driving around with the sticker? How did you feel about that?
LL: No I like it. I actually had one on my car, too. Whenever mom put hers on, I got one too. But my boss didn’t agree with it so he made me take it off.
FPH: No way!
LL: Yeah, he said that it wasn’t right. I told him it was my First Amendment right, but I took it off anyway. I work at McDonalds and I didn’t want to lose my job, it pays my bills. I’ll just let him be the Trump supporter he is. But like my mom said, Trump — he shouldn’t be in office. He makes us females look so terrible in this world.
FPH: Was your sticker as big as your mom’s?
LL: Mine was an American flag and it said “Fuck Trump” in the middle of it. It wasn’t as big as the one they have, but it was about half the size.
FPH: Well, thanks for talking to me. Now that all this is happening are you going to tell your manager you’re putting the sticker back on?
LL: Yeah, I’m going to put mine back on, actually. And I’m getting my other manager one too.
FPH: You guys could start a movement!
LL: Yeah, we’re going to start making more. We met a man yesterday who said he was going to get 20,000 of those stickers made. People are making mugs now. My mom is making shirts now too.
FPH: Oh, are you thinking about monetizing any of this, Karen?
KF: My whole goal was never for money. But when all this happened, I got a lot of response. People telling me to make stickers, make shirts. We did all that. Why let someone else do it? This whole thing for me is not about money. But we have made money along the way. There’s a GoFund page, sticker sales, people sending money in the mail. I don’t even know how people got my address. I make it from day to day, and as long as my kids are happy that’s all that matters. But all this happening is unreal.
FPH: Are you worried that people have your address?
KF: Not at all. I worked at the sheriff’s office, I’m not worried about any of that. I don’t want it exposed but I don’t worry about it. Only a coward would come forward and do something.
FPH: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be famous?
KF: It’s never crossed my mind. And I haven’t changed. This is just me. This is who I am. Fame has never crossed my mind — people say I’m a celebrity and I tell them “no, I’m only stating what I feel.” My kids say that everyone’s looking at me different at the grocery store and I just go with it. Everybody has a different perspective in life and I don’t think this would ever affect me. The only thing I could gain is that my kids will be taken care of.
FPH: Is all the attention exciting?
KF: I’m excited about it. I have a radio interview tonight on 90.3 Others have contacted me as well. We’ve had multiple famous people contact me about it. Multiple rappers are on my side.
KF: Yes, some rappers have reached out.
FPH: Which rappers?
KF: I’d prefer not to disclose that. The thing is everywhere I’m going people are saying I’m a celebrity. But I’m not. The minute you go to the level and feel like you’re something, that means you’re not. I don’t feel any different.
FPH: You’re on the Washington Post, they put an article up about you.
KF: I didn’t know that! Is it positive? If it’s negative I’m not going to read it.
FPH: I don’t think it was negative.
KF: Oh, when we get off the phone text it to me.