Welcome to the state of affairs in 2021’s MAGAfied GOP, where House Republicans who voted for a bipartisan infrastructure bill find themselves on the receiving end of death threats.
The congressman is one of 13 House Republicans who voted for the infrastructure bill. And for that, he has been receiving increasingly unhinged messages, including from one man who has been arrested for threatening Garbarino’s life. Kenneth Gasper was arrested by Nassau Police and has been charged with aggravated harassment, Buzzfeed reported on Thursday. Garbarino’s spokesperson told Buzzfeed that the congressman has received “one specific death threat and numerous other instances of harassment both over the phone and in person at our offices.”
How did we get here? How did people come to decide that supporting funding for smooth roads, timely trains, and non-collapsing bridges was tantamount to treason and punishable by death?
Well, it turns out that when you keep telling people that Democrats are allied with domestic terrorists in a bid to turn America into an anti-white socialist dystopia, at some point they’re going to take you seriously.
Speaking about the GOP members who voted for the bill, former President Trump said they are not real Republicans and should be “ashamed of themselves.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) posted on Twitter the phone numbers for the 13 members of Congress who voted to support the infrastructure package. “These are the 13 ‘Republicans’ who handed over their voting cards to Nancy Pelosi to pass Joe Biden’s Communist takeover of America via so-called infrastructure,” she wrote.
Garbarino is not the only one receiving threats for supporting the bipartisan bill. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) released audio of a voicemail threatening his life as well as his family and staff this week. “I hope your fucking family dies. I hope everybody in your fucking staff dies, you fucking piece of fucking shit. Traitor!” an anonymous caller said in the message to Upton.
“We have seen civility really downslide here,” Upton said on CNN. He told The Detroit News that he received more than 1,000 calls within four days of the vote, including multiple “nasty” death threats. More than 90 percent of those calls, he said, came from outside his district.
One Republican member was so sick of the harassing calls that their office rerouted all of their incoming calls to Greene’s office, Politico‘s Olivia Beavers reported. “She can answer the phones,” a GOP source told Beavers.
These threats are part of a larger trend of rising death threats against elected officials. chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, J. Thomas Manger, told the Associated Press in September that his department estimates authorities will respond to nearly 9,000 threats against members of Congress this year.
Garbarino told Buzzfeed that he hopes they will stop fanning the flames.
“I don’t think my colleagues want to get me killed, but they should stop with the rhetoric,” he said.