Republican members of Congress who helped pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill are receiving death threats from far-right extremists.
The Washington Post reports:
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has received multiple death threats in the days since he voted for President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal, with the overwhelming majority of the calls coming from outside the congressman’s district.
In a CNN interview Monday night, Upton played the audio of one of the calls, which he said came from a man in South Carolina.
“You’re a f—ing piece of s— traitor. I hope you die,” the man can be heard saying. In the expletive-filled call, he goes on to say he hopes Upton’s family and his entire staff die.
An Upton spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Upton told CNN his office has received several such calls after a House colleague tweeted the names and office phone numbers of the Republicans who voted in favor of the bill. The measure passed the House on Friday with a 228-to-206 vote, two months after it was approved by the Senate on an overwhelming 69-to-30 vote.
It’s worth noting that Upton was among those who voted to impeach Donald Trump for the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
Trump leads the far-right attack
Donald Trump took direct aim at the thirteen House Republicans who voted with Democrats to pass the bipartisan bill, calling them “RINOs” for supporting the measure. The bill passed 69-30 in the Senate back in June.
Meanwhile, some of the most conservative Republican members of the House lambasted their colleagues, promising recriminations in the form of primary challenges.
“I can’t believe Republicans just gave the Democrats their socialism bill,” Representative Matt Gaetz tweeted.
Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger, a member of the 1/6 Committee, says that “a party with leaders like Kevin McCarthy, that cannot stand up to the insanity from people like Greene, Gaetz, Gosar, etc, is going to have a hard time standing up to countries like China.”
Needless to say, death threats over a bill that funds roads, bridges, and public transit is not normal. It’s yet another sign of the ugliness in our politics and the fascist impulses of a growing number of Republicans.
The unhinged comments from Gaetz et al and the death threats from their supporters come within days of Representative Paul Gosar tweeting a threatening video at Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
As the AP puts it:
In the past week, Republican Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted a video showing a character with his face killing a figure with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s face. Several of the 13 House Republicans who backed a bipartisan infrastructure bill said they faced threats after their vote. In one profanity-laced voicemail, a caller labeled Rep. Fred Upton a “traitor” and wished death for the Michigan Republican, his family and staff.
The response from Republican leaders? Silence.
Extremist members of Congress like Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Paul Gosar are no longer outliers in a radicalized Republican Party. Worse yet, they’re giving cover to the most violent elements in the party’s base, which already staged an insurrection as part of an attempted coup.