Here Are 7 Public Figures Who Have Received Death Threats for Criticizing President Trump
Supporters of President Donald Trump can be incredibly thin-skinned whenever their idol is criticized in any way, and some of the more extreme ones have been resorting to death threats and sometimes, rape threats as well. On August 3, MSNBC’s Katy Tur revealed that she had received a threatening message from a Trump supporter, saying, “I hope you get raped and killed”—and on July 27, University of Connecticut history professor Manisha Sinha revealed, via Twitter, that she had “received a death threat from someone who knows my home address and telephone number.” That day, CNN published an article by Sinha that unfavorably compared Trump to President Andrew Johnson, and she notified campus police after receiving “a series of threatening phone calls—vile, racist, and misogynistic.”
Sadly, Tur and Sinha are not alone. A long list of people—from journalists to politicians to union organizers—have been targeted for death threats after criticizing the president. It would be one thing if the threats made against Tur or Sinha were only coming from the occasional lone kook, but one is seeing a disturbing pattern in which, time and time again, criticism of Trump is followed by a barrage of death threats—and it illustrates the authoritarian mindset of many Trump supporters and the cult-like devotion they have to him.
Here are seven other public figures who, like Tur and Sinha, have been bombarded with death threats from unhinged Trump supporters for being critical of the president.
1. Rep. Maxine Waters
In June, Trump accused California Rep. Maxine Waters of promoting violence against his supporters—which she never did. Waters has encouraged the president’s critics to be outspoken, but she never encouraged violence. However, Waters has been inundated with death threats from Trumpistas in 2017 and 2018, and she even canceled speaking engagements in Texas and Alabama this summer because she feared for her safety. Last year, a Southern California man was arrested after leaving the following voicemail message at Waters’ Washington, DC office: “If you continue to make threats toward the president, you’re going to wind up dead, Maxine, ’cause we’ll kill you.”
2. Rick Wilson
Florida-based GOP strategist Rick Wilson was one of the leading voices of the right-wing Never Trump movement during the 2016 presidential election, and unlike all of the other Republicans who have obediently fallen in line in support of Trump, Wilson remains one of Trump’s most vehement critics on the right. But the fact that Wilson is a right-winger who has worked closely with Sen. Marco Rubio and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani doesn’t mean that Trumpistas are going to cut him any slack. Wilson, in fact, has received so many death threats from Trump supporters since 2016 that he says he now carries his gun “religiously” for protection.
3. April Ryan
April Ryan, a White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks as well as a political analyst for CNN, hasn’t been shy about asking tough questions when Trump’s press secretaries—first Sean Spicer, now Sarah Huckabee Sanders—held a press conference. Earlier this year, Ryan asked Sanders if Trump had considered resigning; angry Trumpistas deeply resented the question and responded with death threats. Ryan has been in contact with the FBI and has asserted that regardless of the threats, she won’t back down from doing her job.
4. Rep. Al Green
When Rep. Al Green called for the president’s impeachment in 2017, the seven-term Texas Democrat was deluged with death threats from Trump supporters—some of them blatantly racist—in his offices in Houston and Washington, DC. One of the Trumpistas threatened that Green, who is black, would be “hanging from a tree” if he pursued impeachment.
5. Alicia Machado
During the 2016 presidential election, former Miss Universe Alicia Machado (who is Venezuelan) was a persistent critic of Trump’s campaign—and Trump responded with insults like “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.” But some of Trump’s supporters did more than insult Machado; they threatened to kill her. Even before Trump won the election, one was seeing a troubling pattern of Trumpistas resorting to threats of violence in the hope of bullying his critics into silence.
6. Chuck Jones
In December 2016—the month after he won the election and the month before he was sworn in as president—Trump boasted that with the help of Mike Pence, he had struck a deal with Carrier and its parent company United Technologies that would prevent 1100 jobs from moving to Mexico. But Trump, true to form, was exaggerating, and Chuck Jones—Indianapolis-based president of the United Steelworkers Union 1999—called him out, noting that “550 people are losing their jobs.” And Jones found out how thin-skinned Trump supporters can be when he began receiving death threats.
7. Andrew Kaczynski
Both CNN and its competitor MSNBC have been ongoing targets of Trump supporters. Threats against the cable news outlets—both of which Trump has repeatedly denounced as providers of “fake news”—have been numerous. And in some cases, Trumpistas have not only gone after CNN employees, but their families as well. In addition to receiving death threats from Trump supporters, CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski was appalled to learn that his wife and parents were receiving dozens of harassing, threatening phone calls in response to his reporting on the president.