Former President Donald Trump still hasn’t conceded the race he lost to Joe Biden in the electoral and popular vote seven months ago. Instead, the twice-impeached one-term president has repeatedly claimed without evidence that the election was “rigged.” Reuters reports that Trump’s rhetoric prompted chilling death threats to election officials nationwide, including senior administrators as well as low-level volunteers.
In late April, Tricia Raffensperger, the wife of Georgia’s top election official, received a text message that read, “You and your family will be killed very slowly.” That message followed one a week earlier that read, “We plan for the death of you and your family every day.”
Another text message said that a family member was “going to have a very unfortunate incident.”
“Trump’s relentless false claims that the vote was “rigged” against him sparked a campaign to terrorize election officials nationwide – from senior officials such as Raffensperger to the lowest-level local election workers,” Reuters reports. “The intimidation has been particularly severe in Georgia, where Raffensperger and other Republican election officials refuted Trump’s stolen-election claims. The ongoing harassment could have far-reaching implications for future elections by making the already difficult task of recruiting staff and poll workers much harder, election officials say.”
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Things got so bad for the Raffenspergers that they had to cancel weekly visits from their grandchildren. After intruders broke into the home of the Raffenspergers’ widowed daughter-in-law in late November, the family went into hiding for a week.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Michigan’s Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are still getting threats.
“But many others whose lives have been threatened were low- or mid-level workers, just doing their jobs. Trump’s incendiary rhetoric could reverberate into the 2022 midterm congressional elections and the 2024 presidential vote by making election workers targets of threatened or actual violence,” the outlet reports. “Many election offices will lose critical employees with years or decades of experience, predicts David Becker, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research.”
In one email that was sent on Jan. 2 to officials in nearly a dozen counties, the sender threatened to bomb polling sites: “No one at these places will be spared unless and until Trump is guaranteed to be POTUS again.”
Richard Barron, who oversaw elections in a region that overwhelmingly backed Biden for president, received hundreds of harassing messages. Barron, who is white, explained that his staff is made up almost entirely of Black election workers. “The racial slurs were disturbing and sickening,” he told Reuters.
“You actually deserve to hang by your goddamn, soy boy, skinny-ass neck,” a woman said in a voicemail, and another caller wanted him banished to China: “That’s where you belong, in communist China, because you’re a crook.”
And they’re doing all of this for a mentally ill girdled septuagenarian that wears lifts in his shoes to appear taller. Trump has really brought out the worst in people.
You can read the full report here.
Featured image via Political Tribune gallery