A caller on a tea party-sponsored conference call Wednesday suggested that the way to change Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)’s mind on immigration reform would be to “shoot her.” According to Think Progress, the violent suggestion was not condemned, but met with hoots of laughter by others on the call.
Far-right conservative group The Eagle Forum held the call, which featured Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)’s communications director Stephen Miller and the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector. The suggestion that Collins should be shot came when the call moderator turned the discussion over to callers.
An individual identified as “Bob from Maine” said, “I’m from Maine and our tea party will be meeting up next week. What is the best way that we can get our senator to listen to us?”
“Shoot her,” said another caller, who did not identify himself.
The call to violence was met with laughter by the people on the conference call. No one on the line raised any audible objection.
Think Progress noted that calling for the assassination of a sitting Senator is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison.
Tea partiers have threatened U.S. officials before. In 2011, Jules Manson, a failed tea party candidate for local office in California said of President Barack Obama in a blog post, “Assassinate the fucking ni**er and his monkey children.”
In April of this year, an Oklahoma state senator was threatened by a co-founder of the Sooner, OK tea party, Al Gerhart. Gerhart sent state Senator Cliff Branan (R) a death threat via email, writing that if Brannan didn’t acquiesce to Tea Party pressure over “Agenda 21,” the supposed U.N. “mind-control” plot, “We will dig into your past, your family, your associates and once we start on you there will be no end to it. This is a promise.”
[tea party protester via Flickr user theqspeaks, Creative Commons licensed]