The Democratic Party chairman of Iowa is being threatened with lynching after writing an editorial critical of former President Donald Trump, the Des Moines Register reported Tuesday.
According to the report, Ross Wilburn, the first Black chair of the state party, has been plagued with hateful comments and he now wants people to understand the hate being pushed by Republican opposition.
"It's important for people to know that this is not normal and it's not OK," said Wilburn, who also serves as a state representative from Ames, Iowa.
"Ames Police Cmdr. Jason Tuttle confirmed his department is investigating the threats, and Story County Attorney Tim Meals said his office has also been made aware of the incidents," the report revealed.
A few weeks ago, Wilburn penned a column ahead of Trump's Iowa rally that accused local GOP leaders of putting loyalty to Trump over helping Iowans.
"It's not just [Sen. Chuck] Grassley; the entire Republican Party of Iowa is welcoming Trump with open arms proving once again that they have completely surrendered themselves to a man who not only openly attacked the foundations of our democracy, but also has shown disdain for our Constitution, and failed to help the American people when we needed it most," wrote Wilburn.
"Every single Iowa Republican — especially Rep. Ashley Hinson and Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks — has made clear that they would rather cozy up to Trump and spread misinformation about the election than serve their constituents," the column continued. "After all, Iowa Republicans unanimously opposed putting checks in pockets, getting shots in arms, and helping millions of parents make ends meet."
After the column was posted, Wilburn got two threatening phone calls and one email to his official state account.
"The voicemails include very explicit language. Every other word was the 'N-word,'" he said, noting he couldn't give more details because investigations are now pending.
There are other messages from angry Republicans, but they haven't been as strong as the three outright threats.
"What stood out this time was the language that was used — specifically, the very direct statement about lynching," he told the Des Moines Register. "And I get angry about that — that people feel that they can come in and make you feel less than human, subhuman, with that type of reference to lynching. There's the history behind that and trying to intimidate Blacks, intimidate African Americans."
"I'm concerned about this type of escalation of comments, including violent references, that are happening, even down to some of the school board meetings and elections that are coming up," he said. "... If anyone's ever subject to these types of threatening actions, I encourage them to don't just sit by and take it. Report it."
He noted that the increase in threats seems to stem from Trump, who tends to escalate tensions and encourage supporters to be violent toward others.
He said that he does intend to file charges once the person is found.
"I don't think there's any question that he was a catalyst during his administration and since then, for how hateful rhetoric can translate into serious threats against people of color," Wilburn said.