Iowa Democratic President says he received lynching threat after criticizing Trump
The president of the Iowa Democratic Party said on Tuesday he received a threat of lynching and several other racist phone and email messages after he wrote a column in the state’s largest newspaper denouncing former President Donald J Trump and the Republicans.
Party Chairman Ross Wilburn, the first black person to lead the Democratic Party in Iowa, the presidential proving ground, said he passed the messages on to Ames, Iowa, police and planned to file a complaint if the people who sent the messages were identified.
Speaking to reporters on Zoom, Mr Wilburn, a representative for Ames State, said the threatening messages in response to an Oct. 8 opinion piece he wrote in The Des Moines Register titled : “The Republicans in Iowa have shown loyalty to Trump rather than helping the Iowans. . “
The column’s publication preceded Mr. Trump’s October 9 rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, his first visit to the state since the loss of the 2020 election and the deadly January 6 insurgency on Capitol Hill. the United States.
“At some point we have to say enough is enough,” Wilburn said on Tuesday. “We can’t control the thoughts that hateful people have, but when you speak up and choose to act a certain way, it’s not OK.”
Mr Wilburn, 57, a former mayor of Iowa City, was elected party chairman in January. The Register reported on the threats on Monday, which Mr Wilburn said began on the same day his column appeared.
On October 8, Mr Wilburn said, he received a voice mail message from a restricted number ending with a threat which included a reference to the lynching. Over the next two days, he said, racist slurs were repeatedly directed at him in another voicemail and email sent to his legislative account.
Cmdr. Jason Tuttle of the Ames Police Department said in an email Tuesday that Mr Wilburn filed a police report on October 10 and that police are investigating.
The registry reported that Timothy C. Meals, the Story County district attorney, said his office had been alerted. Mr Meals did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the leading Republican in the Senate, condemned the threats on Tuesday. Twitter.
“Racism and threats of violence are never acceptable,” Mr Grassley wrote. He said the threat to Mr Wilburn was being investigated and those responsible should be held accountable. Americans should be able to have “civil / respectful political discussions” with their neighbors, he wrote.
Mr Wilburn said some Republican state lawmakers offered him words of support.
In his October 8 column, Wilburn accused Republicans in Iowa, including Mr. Grassley, of allowing Mr. Trump, who he said had “openly attacked the foundations of our democracy.”
“It’s not just Grassley,” Mr. Wilburn wrote, “the entire Iowa Republican Party welcomes Trump with open arms, proving once again that they have fully surrendered to a man who has not only openly attacked the foundations of our democracy, but also showed contempt for our Constitution and failed to help the American people when we needed it most. ”
The Iowa Republican Party and representatives for Mr. Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
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Mr Wilburn said on Tuesday that the Iowa Democratic Party had taken security measures to ensure his safety, without giving details.
The hateful language described by Mr Wilburn follows a series of threats directed at other Democratic lawmakers and journalists over the results of last year’s presidential election.
Last week, a Californian pleaded guilty to one count of making threatening interstate communications after sending a series of threatening text messages to New York City Representative Hakeem Jeffries’ brother, federal prosecutors said.
The messages were sent on January 6, the same day Mr. Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying President Biden’s electoral victory.
The Californian man, Robert Lemke, 36, has also been accused of threatening a family member of George Stephanopoulos, the ABC News presenter and former White House communications director under President Bill Clinton, according to a criminal complaint.
In June, a Missouri man accused of threatening a black congressman this year and a Jewish congressman in 2019 pleaded guilty to two counts of threatening assault against a U.S. official.
The man, Kenneth R. Hubert, 63, made threatening comments towards two Democratic representatives, Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri and Steve Cohen of Tennessee, prosecutors said.