Police charged a Florida man this week with making threatening phone calls to several Democratic members of Congress, in each case complaining about freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar.
U.S. Capitol Police identified John Joseph Kless as the man responsible for calls to Rep. Rashida Tlaib and presidential hopefuls Rep. Eric Swalwell and Sen. Cory Booker, and in a criminal complaint quoted the man’s racist diatribes against those lawmakers and Ms. Omar.
The caller repeatedly called Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar “Taliban,” apparently intended to offend both women, who are Muslim. He used a racial slur for Mr. Booker, who is black, and referred to Mr. Swalwell as a “communist (expletive) bag.”
In each message, the caller mentioned Ms. Omar, apparently angered by the congresswoman’s recent reference to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as “some people did something.”
“Tell your Taliban friend to shut the (expletive) up about 9/11. This ain’t Trump’s fault, (expletive), it’s all your people’s fault,” the caller said in the message for Ms. Tlaib, according to an affidavit by a Capitol Police special agent.
In the message to Mr. Booker, the caller downplayed the white nationalist-fueled clash in Charlottesville in 2017, warning that “you government officials will be in the graves where you (expletive) belong.”
Police said they tracked the phone numbers used to leave the messages to the phone owned by Mr. Kless.
They sped up their investigation because Ms. Tlaib is due to speak in Florida this weekend.
All three politicians denounced President Trump after he shared a viral video that showed clips of the destruction from the terror attacks on 9/11 juxtaposed with Ms. Omar’s comment.
Ms. Omar said she’s received death threats in the aftermath.
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