Death Threats, Even Facetious, Don’t Get a Pass

Screenshot from NBC’s Today Show.

I was watching NBC this morning and see that Trump attorney Joe Digenova made the statement captioned here about Christopher Krebs, Trump’s former cybersecurity chief in the Department of Homeland Security. This is a clip of Digenova speaking on Newsmax.

If he hasn’t already, I’m sure Digenova will tweet or issue a statement saying he wasn’t serious. He’ll say he was kidding or being sarcastic, or that it was simply figure of speech. It’s not that easy to dismiss. He doesn’t get a pass.

In the political climate we have today with Trump conspiracy mongering to stoke the fires, and his supporters showing up at state houses armed with assault rifles, statements like this are calls to action whether intentional or not. Given what people are willing to believe these days along with inflamed emotions, some will take Digenova’s statement literally. At least a few of them might be inclined to try and carry out “the sentence.”

This is what political discourse has come to. Civil servants — like myself for 31 years — now have to look over our shoulders for simply doing our jobs. Ohio’s former Health Director endured death threats, anti-Semitic attacks and armed protesters on her front lawn. Fauci and his family have a security detail after receiving credible death threats. Election officials across the country have been threatened. Some report they’ve upgraded their home security and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a few have sought or received other protection.

This is not meant to be an anti-Republican, pro-Democratic screed. That things could even get this bad is an indictment of the entire system. The Republican side is in the lead currently pushing the envelope, but it takes two to tango as the expression goes. Together they’ve been building up to this for decades.

Everyone, including my friends and family who support Trump and question the legitimacy of the election, should emphatically condemn all conduct and statements of this kind. There is no room for it, no excuse. Challenging issues and difficult discussions lie ahead. We can’t advance by inciting violence or worse against those whose opinions we disagree with.


Gabriel Sterling of the Secretary of State’s Office in Georgia blasts Trump and everyone else complicit in the stoking of threats of violence against civil servants doing their jobs. Among them, a young 20-year-old contractor being called treasonous for doing his job and being threatening with nooses.

Title image: Crawford Jolly on Unsplash

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