A Nebraska man is accused of making death threats against Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA).
FBI agents arrested Robert Simet, 64, in Omaha for allegedly threatening Ernst, the freshman U.S. senator from Iowa Friday morning, KQWC reported.
“The safety of our elected officials is something that cannot be taken lightly,” FBI Omaha Special Agent Randall Thysse said in a statement. “We appreciate those people who reported this to the proper authorities and for the response from our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa for their swift action on this matter.”
Simet allegedly told employees of a motorcycle dealership Wednesday that he knew Ernst had a scheduled appearance there Friday and said he “could kill her.”
One employee from the dealership told the FBI that Simet told the group that “all Congress members should be killed.”
“I wasn’t surprised when I heard about what he said, but I know those threats weren’t based in reality,” Dr. Glenn Hurst, Simet’s friend of 20 years, told the Omaha World-Herald. “I want people to know that he’s not a bad guy. He’s a sick guy.”
Hurst told the paper that Simet suffered a psychotic break ten years ago that changed him.
He added that Simet told him he was hearing voices and was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Hurst, who is part of efforts to stop the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, said he plans to go to Ernst’s next scheduled town hall in Harlan, Iowa, on Monday to tell Simet’s story.
Simet was charged with threatening to assault a federal official and is in custody at Pottawattamie County Jail, where he is being held without bail.
He is scheduled to appear in federal court in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on July 11 at 11 a.m. for a preliminary hearing.