As the GOP condemns party members who voted for the infrastructure bill in last week’s House vote, Republican Rep. Fred Upton (Michigan) has shared a voicemail he received over his “yes” vote from an angry caller who threatened his life.
The message, which was obtained by The Detroit News, is riddled with profanities and expresses vitriol over Upton’s vote. “I hope you die. I hope everybody in your fucking family dies,” the caller says, before wishing death on Upton’s staff. According to The Detroit News, the caller is from South Carolina — outside of Upton’s state.
Within the 30-second voicemail, the caller refers to Upton as a “traitor” multiple times, echoing language from a post by right-wing extremist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), who called him and the 12 other GOP members who voted for the bill “traitors.”
Upton says that he’s gotten several death threatsGreene made over 1,000 calls since Greene posted his number on Twitter. She encouraged her followers to contact Congressmen. In response to hearing about the voicemail, the Georgia lawmaker dubiously claimed not to condone death threats before posting Upton’s phone number on Twitter for a second time, appearing to encourage her followers to send even more death threats.
Upton claims that threats have been flooding into his office since he voted in January to impeach Donald Trump. Numerous Republican representatives reportedSome people received death threats before the impeachment vote. Some even said that they felt the need to vote against impeachment based on the voicemails and calls that threatened their lives.
Other Republicans also have expressed frustrationOver the infrastructure vote, condemning Republicans who voted to repeal the very watered-down bill for infrastructure that was negotiated by their party members. Some conservatives such as Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado, have called for harsh punishment the members who supported the legislationThey could be stripped of their committee assignments or faced with primary challenges, possibly by someone to the right.
Despite the fact the infrastructure bill was negotiated in order to appease Republicans as well as Democrats who are sympathetic to their cause such as Sen. Joe Manchin (West Virginia), a conservative Democrat. The bill seeks to mildly improve infrastructure like roads and highways — a goal previously championed by Trump himself. The far right Republicans will likely be upset that party members backed any measure supported the Biden administration.
The far right has been subject to harassment and death threats for many years. Right-wingers were the most popular last year threatened poll workers. government agenciesAnd left-wing protesters. It’s not uncommon for progressive lawmakersto receive harassment or death threats. But concerningly, encouraging harassment appears to be an increasingly popular far right strategy to threaten political opponents and whip party members in order — and the tactic has recently been employed by members of Congress themselves.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic-New Yorker, is a common target of harassment; at least one of the far right militants who attacked the Capitol in January stated that they wanted to “assassinate AOC.” This week, however, Ocasio-Cortez was the recipient of what appears to be a violent threat from a fellow member of Congress: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona).
Gosar posted a video earlier this week showing an animated version of himself Ocasio Cortez killed. However, even though the New York lawmaker is sometimes threatened by members in Congress, there have never been consequences for such behavior.