A Republican state lawmaker in Idaho is accused of inciting violence against journalists and others by posting a meme of President Donald Trump holding a barbed-wire-wrapped bat.
"Rep. Tammy Nichols on Tuesday posted an image showing former President Donald Trump, a red-colored Idaho image covering his head and face, carrying a barbwire-wrapped baseball bat and others behind him with their heads covered with logos representing 11 groups, including Boise State University," according to CBS Channel 11. "The meme is an altered image from The Walking Dead, a post-apocalyptic American television series. The fictional character with the bat uses it to smash another character's head open in a graphic scene of violence."
Nichols wrote below the meme on Twitter, "Idaho has a swamp and there are many players that are working hard to turn it blue. We must stand and not let a Rocky Mountain Heist happen here in the Gem State. Local elections are coming up and they will have consequences."
Idaho has a swamp and there are many players that are working hard to turn it blue. We must stand and not let a Roc… https://t.co/HZaL98k5do— Nichols For Idaho (@Nichols For Idaho) 1634061388.0
The anti-vax Republican from southwestern Idaho told the Associated Press in an email, "The meme was based on an original Donald Trump meme, but the real question is why is the media worried about a meme on Twitter instead of the potential issues and corruption that seem to be occurring in Caldwell."
Nichols didn't explain what she meant by the "corruption" in Caldwell, but her email included the original Trump meme, which shows the former president carrying the bat with the logos of national media outlets covering the faces behind him.
The national media outlets were replaced in Nichols' meme with logos representing Boise State University, Idaho Education News, the Idaho Conservation League, Moms Demand Action, Boise-based KTVB-TV, the anti-extremist Idaho 97 Project, and other organizations.
Joe Parris, a reporter for KTVB-TV, wrote on Twitter in response to Nichols' meme: "Only the elected official can say what they meant by a tweet. I can tell you from experience though that threats against journalists from community members can often be rooted to images like this."
I know it’s popular for elected officials to post “shocking” images and memes online, but I cannot drive home how c… https://t.co/teSmfn5yCB— Joe Parris (@Joe Parris) 1634083639.0
Mike Satz, executive director of the Idaho 97 Project, told the AP: "I did take it as a threat of physical harm. The problem with this kind of behavior and what makes it so pernicious is people like Tammy Nichols can pretend they didn't mean what the meme obviously means. But anyone with two brain cells knows that there are people out there in her base who would look at that and take it as a call to action against all of those organizations through violence."
The AP notes that, "Boise State University saw its proposed budget cut earlier this year despite a record budget surplus in the state after Nichols and other right-wing lawmakers complained about critical race theory, a way of thinking about America's history through the lens of racism, and accused the university of indoctrinating students."