Federal authorities arrested a Florida man Friday for allegedly threatening to kill at least three Democratic lawmakers, according to reports. John Kless, 49, called the offices of Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Eric Swalwell, and Sen. Cory Booker.
"You're going to be the motherfuckers that pay," Kless allegedly told Booker in a voicemail. "Don't worry, you government officials will be in the graves where you belong."
In some of the voice messages, Kless defended President Trump, and in all three messages, he insulted and threatened Rep. Ilhan Omar and attempted to link her to terrorist groups.
In his message to Tlaib, Kless allegedly referred to both Tlaib and Omar using racist, Islamophobic, and gendered slurs. The messages also insulted the Muslim prophet Mohamed and included homophobic innuendo about the two women. Kless also said he’d like to throw Omar off the Empire State Building.
Omar and Tlaib are the only two Muslim women ever elected to Congress. Kless also allegedly defended Trump in his expletive-laden message to the congresswoman.
“You won’t fucking tell Americans what to say and you definitely don’t tell our president, Donald Trump, what to say,” he said.
In his call to Swalwell, Kless allegedly focused on Swalwell’s position on gun control. Swalwell has made gun control his principal issue in his 2020 campaign for the U.S. presidency.
"The day you come after our guns, motherfucker, is the day you'll be dead," Kless said, according to a federal indictment.
He added: "You're gonna die. Don't wanna do that shit, boy. You'll be [on] your death bed, motherfucker, along with the rest of you Democrats. So if you want death, keep that shit up, motherfucker."
Rep. Omar is frequently targeted with death threats and other Islamophobic attacks. The congresswoman is the most vocal critic of Israel in Congress, which has resulted in repeated controversy and accusations of anti-Semitism from Republicans and some Democrats. Most recently, President Trump tweeted a video that interspersed a single sentence Omar said about 9/11 — “some people did something” — with footage of the terrorist attacks. Omar said the video caused a spike in direct threats on her life.
Trump, meanwhile, says he has no regrets about the video or the threats against Omar.
“She’s been very disrespectful to this country,” Trump said of Omar earlier this week. “She’s been very disrespectful, frankly, to Israel. She is somebody that doesn’t really understand, I think, life, real life.”
Kless allegedly directly referenced Omar’s use of the words “some people did something” — the same words Trump has publicly targeted — in his message to Tlaib.
“You know what? She's lucky she's just getting death threats,” Kless allegedly said. “So are you.”
Cover: Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., right, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., attend a rally with Democrats in the Capitol to introduce the "Equality Act," which will amend existing civil rights legislation to bar discrimination based on gender identification and sexual orientation on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)