“It’s basically about meditating in the woods,” the Tennessee professor told The Washington Post.
So Haskell concedes there was a bit of irony this weekend when he got into a screaming match on a nature trail with a U.S. senator about President-elect Donald Trump.
It happened in Chattanooga on Sunday evening, as thousands were protesting Trump’s election in other cities across the country.
Haskell and three friends were walking along Stringer’s Ridge, a wooded area popular with hikers.
“We were taking a walk before having dinner together and just chatting about things,” he said. “We were talking some about the election, of course, and about life.”
At one point, the group saw Sen. Bob Corker coming in the other direction, Haskell said.
Corker, a Tennessee Republican, is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee — and a man who prognosticators say has been shortlisted for a position on Trump’s cabinet.
What happened next depends on whom you ask.
Haskell detailed the encounter on his website.
“I greeted him then told him how deeply ashamed I was to be from a state where our senator will not denounce Trump for boasting of sexual assault,” he wrote. “Corker has been silent on this matter and on the racism and hate that the T-monster has spewed into our country these last months . . . I told him that as a Tennessean I was deeply ashamed of his silence.”
According to Haskell, Corker responded: “If you don’t like it, then you should leave the state.”
Corker’s office, however, says the senator was calm despite Haskell’s aggressive stance.
“While hiking alone Sunday afternoon on Stringer’s Ridge, Senator Corker was aggressively approached by Professor Haskell, who was hiking with three other individuals,” a spokesman said. “Professor Haskell began shouting at Senator Corker in a profanity-laced tirade while pointing a finger in his face and told the senator that he was embarrassed to live in a state where the citizens voted to overwhelmingly elect Donald Trump.
“Senator Corker calmly suggested to the professor that he did not have to live in Tennessee if he did not wish to do so.”
Haskell told The Post that he was most incensed about a 2005 tape on which Trump was heard bragging in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women.
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump told “Access Hollywood’s” Billy Bush in a conversation that was captured by a hot microphone. “You can do anything…. Grab them by the p—y.”
The professor and the senator were hardly the first Americans to argue about Trump in recent months.
Occasionally, those confrontations have turned violent.
In March, a Trump supporter was charged with assault after sucker-punching a protester at a Fayetteville, N.C., rally. In August, a racially charged confrontation over a Trump T-shirt ended in a crowbar attack.
Since Trump’s Election Day win, numerous incidents have been reported across the country.
A black student at Baylor University said she was shoved by a white male while walking to class on the morning after the election. Her assailant, a fellow student, told her “no n—–s allowed on the sidewalk,” she said — then echoed Trump’s campaign slogan, declaring: “I’m just trying to make America great again.”
Days later, a University of Michigan student was approached by a stranger who threatened to set her on fire if she didn’t remove her hijab, campus police said.
At a high school in Pennsylvania, two students paraded through the hallways with a Trump sign as one student shouted, “White power!” — a moment that was captured on video.
On Saturday, an Episcopal church in Maryland was vandalized with a chilling message: “Trump nation. Whites only.”
The following morning, in central Indiana, the organist at an Episcopal church discovered a swastika, an anti-gay slur and “HEIL TRUMP” spray-painted on the outside walls.
In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” broadcast Sunday night, Trump said that he was “so saddened to hear” that people were harassing others in his name. “And I say, ‘Stop it,’” the president-elect said. “If it — if it helps, I will say this, and I will say it right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.’”