A South Florida man has been arrested for threatening to kill Democratic lawmakers, including Ilhan Omar, the first Muslim women elected to U.S. Congress.
Forty-nine-year-old John Kless, of Broward County, telephoned three Democrats at their Washington, D.C. offices April 16 and left voicemail messages threatening murder. He called the offices of California Congressman Eric Swalwell, Detroit Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
While he did not leave a message for Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, in all three messages he left for other lawmakers, Kless referenced his hatred for Omar. He called her a “towel head” and claimed she was a member of the Taliban. In his message to Tlaib’s office, Kless mentioned Omar’s recent “some people did something” comments about the 9/11 terror attacks — in which Omar was arguing that all Muslims should not be punished for the actions of the few who committed the attacks.
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“It was your Taliban bitch, the one who opened up her fucking towel-head mouth about how ‘some people did it,'” Kless allegedly said in his message to Tlaib.
He continued: “No one wants to f*cking hear you or that other little whore. I’d like to take that bitch and throw her right off the Empire State Building, that f*cking whore. Tell her to shut her f*cking mouth. You f*cking f*ck her all the time probably. So tell her to shut the f*ck up, all right? From one towel head to another.”
Kless also used called Booker the N-word and a “monkey,” according to court records, adding he wanted to kill Black men like the senator.
And as far as Swalwell, Kless called him a communist and promised someone would kill Swalwell if he enacted the gun control proposals that he has been promoting during his presidential campaign.
Kless also used the voicemails to defend Trump.
“Kless has been charged with making threatening communications, a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Kless is the second man this month arrested for threatening Omar: On April 4, an upstate New York man, Patrick W. Carlineo Jr., was arrested for threatening to shoot the congresswoman,” the Miami Times reported.
Wilfredo Ruiz, a spokesperson for the Florida chapter of civil-rights organization Council of American-Islamic Relations, said in a press statement that Donald Trump’s rhetoric is, indeed, sparking violence against Muslims. CAIR is also asking the federal government to charge Kless with hate-crimes.
“This outrageous, Islamophobic, criminal conduct needs to be forcefully prosecuted to the utmost extent,” Ruiz said. “The inflammatory and racist rhetoric originated by our President and several hate groups active across America have repercussions.”