Republican campaign literature in Florida has suggested that Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., should be hanged — a threat that drew repercussions from GOP leaders and landed the same week that Omar’s GOP challenger in Minnesota was suspended from Twitter for calling for the congresswoman’s execution.
In a fundraising letter sent last week and first reported on Tuesday by the Tampa Bay Times, the campaign of George Buck, a St. Petersburg Republican running for Congress, repeated falsehoods about Omar’s alleged ties to foreign nations.
“We should hang these traitors where they stand,” the email said, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
In an initial comment to that newspaper, Buck denied writing the campaign email, which arrived in the form of a letter and bore his signature. “That was not me. I did not see that,” Buck told Times reporter Steve Contorno. “I would never talk like that.”
But Buck sent another statement later in the day that cited the federal punishment for treason, which includes death, prison time of at least five years and a fine of not less than $10,000.
“Anyone who commits treason against the United States should be tried to the full extent of the law,” Buck said, according to the Times.
House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana disavowed Buck’s words in a statement Wednesday, saying “there’s no place for inciting violence in politics.”
“Instead of doubling down on these disgraceful comments, the candidate ought to apologize unequivocally and denounce these unacceptable statements,” Scalise said.
Buck drew more than criticism from his party. The National Republican Congressional Committee and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., are also dropping Buck from the Committee’s Young Guns program supporting 2020 candidates’ according to a Politico reporter’s post that the NRCC retweeted.
The NRCC, McCarthy and Buck’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday morning.
Buck is challenging Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist in Florida’s House District 13. Crist is a former state attorney general and governor who has represented St. Petersburg in Congress since 2017. Buck was the Republican candidate for the District 13 seat in 2018, but was defeated handily by Crist.
The original fundraising email Buck’s campaign sent out on Nov. 26 names Omar, who is Somali-born, and well as fellow freshmen Democratic congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — all women of color. It also calls out Crist and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D, reported the Tampa Bay Times.
Talib wrote on Twitter that candidates are making “violent threats very publicly without hesitation reaffirms just how much white supremacy has spread” within the National Republican Congressional Committee.
The chair of the NRCC, Rep. Tom Emmer, is also a Minnesota congressman.
Twitter shut down the accounts of Danielle Stella, Omar’s Republican challenger in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, after her campaign tweeted that Ilhan should be “tried for -treason and hanged” related to baseless allegations that Ilhan gave information to Iran.