“The President is inciting violence against a sitting Congresswoman—and an entire group of Americans based on their religion. It’s disgusting. It’s shameful. And any elected leader who refuses to condemn it shares responsibility for it,” tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on the evening of April 12.
“The President is actively and willfully endangering the life of a member of Congress,” wrote MSNBC host Chris Hayes, echoing Sen. Warren.
The communications came hours after President Trump tweeted video of a misleading montage that began with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and included footage from the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Trump’s Twitter communication came on the evening of April 12 with the words “we will not forget” in all capital letters, days after the conservative New York Post ran a front cover targeting Rep. Omar. The attacks from the right on the freshman Congresswoman and new Congressional Black Caucus member have been continuous. Rep. Omar is one of three vocal members of Congress who continue to win national media attention. The other two are women of color as well: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
Rep. Omar, 37, who won the U.S. House seat vacated by former Rep. Keith Ellison (now Minnesota’s Attorney General), the first Muslim to serve in Congress, is, along with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, one of the first two Muslim women to ever serve in the U.S. Congress. Rep. Tlaib took over the seat long-held by former Congressman John Conyers.
Trump has now specifically targeted two Black female members of Congress as their national prominence and platform have grown. After Trump embarked on a running series of negative comments on Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the new Chairwoman of the Committee on House Financial Services, received death threats.
On April 11, Anthony Scott Lloyd, who called Rep. Waters’ office and threatened to kill her, pled guilty to a single count of threatening a United States official. According to court documents, Lloyd left a voicemail at Rep. Waters’ office in Washington, D.C. on October 22, 2018 using a racial slur and stating that, “if you continue to make threats towards the president, you’re going to wind up dead, Maxine, ‘cause we’ll kill you.”
The complaint added that Lloyd informed the FBI that he was listening to talk radio and his threatening call to Rep. Waters was a “spur of the moment” decision.
One of Trump’s first actions as President was the January 27, 2017 signing of Executive Order 13780, also referred to as the Muslim ban.
On April 12, Rep. Omar tweeted, “Women—especially women of color—have been told to go slow, to not be seen and to not be heard for many years. We are not in Congress to be invisible. In the words of Congressman John Lewis, we are here to make good trouble.”
“Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She won’t back down to Trump’s racism and hate, and neither will we. The disgusting and dangerous attacks against her must end,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders two hours after Trump tweeted his menacing communication regarding the Michigan Congresswoman.
It is not uncommon that members of Congress who appear in the news or are the target of Trump’s vitriol receive a spike in death threats.
Members who receive serious threats are typically assigned extra police protection by the U.S. Capitol Police. In the wake of energetic political activity in 2010 near the passage of the Affordable Care Act, a few U.S. House members received extra security.