Republicans going home to talk to their constituents are facing violence and death threats, with some lawmakers upping security at town hall events — a consequence of a culture of violence being fostered by left-wing activists and their allies in the liberal media.
In the lead up to the passage of ObamaCare in 2010, conservatives were vocal at town halls and other forums in their opposition to the law. Yet, despite a great deal of speculation and fearmongering by the media, town hall events were almost entirely free of violence or threats of harm.
As the Democrats seek to mirror that opposition against President Trump and the Republican health care bill, the same commitment to non-violence is not there. Using similar tactics to “Antifa” activists opposing conservative speakers on college campuses, some anti-Trump activists are disrupting events and even resorting to threats and acts of violence.
A man was arrested last week for threatening Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) in voicemail messages, telling her that her days “were numbered” because of her support for the president. The Arizona Republic reported that her district is one of the most evenly divided in the nation, but the threats are especially disturbing as she represents the district represented by former Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head in 2011.
McSally faced one of the more extreme crowds at a town hall in February where she was heckled as activists carried signs saying, “Stop Trump’s crusade of hate” and “No! This fascist regime must be stopped before it starts.”
Some threats, allegedly from Steven Martan who was arrested by the FBI, say: “Martha our sights are set on you, right between your (expletive) eyes” and “Can’t wait to (expletive) pull the trigger (expletive),” according to the Republic.
This month, a woman was arrested after she allegedly attempted to drive Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN) off the road over his support of the Republican health care bill after an event. When the car stopped, she is alleged to have attacked the car, hitting the windows and reaching inside the car. She was arrested after she bragged about it on Facebook.
While tempting to dismiss as one-off incidents, the threats and attacks come amid a backdrop of a culture of violence among the left. Riots, once a rare occurrence in America, now seem commonplace from leftist thugs in the era of Trump. Hundreds of people were arrested for rioting on Trump’s Inauguration Day alone, and college campuses have seen threats and violence should they dare to invite a conservative speaker onto campus.
This has even been promoted to an extent by some liberal media outlets. In addition to the general hysteria and misinformation being pushed by some outlets (such as the false claim spread by a number of outlets that the health care reform bill would “make sexual assault a pre-existing condition”), there have been outright calls for harassment.
Two days before the attack on Kustoff, a May 10 opinion piece by Michelangelo Signorile for HuffPost told readers, “It’s time to move beyond polite protests within specified boundaries. It’s time to escalate the expression of our outrage and our anger in a massive way.”
Starting today and from here on, no elected official ― certainly those in the GOP defending and supporting Trump on a variety of issues, for example ― should be able to sit down for a nice, quiet lunch or dinner in a Washington, DC eatery or even in their own homes. They should be hounded by protestors everywhere, especially in public ― in restaurants, in shopping centers, in their districts, and yes, on the public property outside their homes and apartments, in Washington and back in their home states.
A day later, a man at a town hall meeting put his hands on Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and tried to stuff money into his blazer to protest his support of the health care bill. The protester, Mike Quinn, was then written about sympathetically by The Washington Post, which made much of his subsequent apology to Cramer — but included this frightening quote from Quinn: “I was out of my mind with anger for a few moments there.”
Understandably, it now seems Republican lawmakers are taking precautions. The Hill reports that, after a catalog of violence and threats, many GOP lawmakers are fearing for their safety at town halls, and some are upping security in response.
Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA) increased security at a town hall event after he received a number of death threats online — threats deemed “credible and real” by authorities.
“Dissent is American. Praise God. We need that. That’s what made us who we are. But when it’s ‘I’m going to kill you this way. Then I’m going to kill your wife. This is what I’m going to do to your daughters,’ … I’m not going to not share it,” Garrett told The Roanoke Times.
In its report documenting the threats, The Hill noted that often it isn’t the lawmakers themselves that get the threats, but members of their families. It was the young daughter, for instance, of Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) who found a sign on the family lawn: “Traitors put party above country Do the right thing for once, shithead.”
Adam Shaw is a politics reporter for Breitbart News based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.