Ross Wilburn: Democrat threatened with lynching after criticising Trump

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman receives a number of abusive messages

Helen Elfer
Wednesday 20 October 2021 10:32 BST
(AFP via Getty Images)

Authorities are investigating a lynching threat received by Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Ross Wilburn after he wrote an op-ed criticising former President Donald Trump.

Mr Wilburn, the state party’s first Black chairman,  accused Iowa Republicans of putting their loyalty to Mr Trump ahead of Iowans’ needs in an opinion piece published in the Des Moines Register.

“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,” Mr Wilburn wrote.

After the guest column was published on 8 October, Mr Wilburn received three threatening messages, one of which was a voice mail threatening to lynch him, and all using explicit and offensive language, he told reporters, according toThe Washington Post.

“The n-word was used multiple times,” Mr Wilburn said. “The voice mails and the email made reference to my writing about former president Trump and made specific references to my comments regarding Trump’s actions on 6 January. This led me to believe that they had read my op-ed.”

Local authorities are investigating the abusive messages and Mr Wilburn said he will press charges if those behind them are identified.

“I know it can be challenging, difficult to sometimes find folks that are sending things either directly or through restricted accounts or anonymously,” he said. “But that’s what I intend to do.”

Iowa Republican Senators Charles E. Grassley and Joni Ernst condemned the threats on Twitter. Ms Ernst said that the perpetrators should be held accountable, while Mr Grassley posted: “Racism & threats of violence are never acceptable. the threat against Iowa Dem party chair Wilburn is being investigated & those responsible should b held accountable We ought to b able to hv civil/respectful political discussions in this country w our neighbors.”

Mr Wilburn responded to Mr Grassley’s comments, saying: “If Senator Grassley is going to be more consistent with that in the future, then I think that would be important for him to do as a leader in his party.”

He added that he appreciated the messages of support he received, but that it should not be the norm for officials to receive hateful messages.

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