As if we needed another reminder of how much President Trump’s hateful rhetoric has damaged the fabric of our nation, the news that emerged late yesterday that one of the president’s supporters — inspired by the steady diet of anti-Islamic and anti-Democratic fear-mongering and hatred-stoking propaganda that Trump spews forth daily — had been arrested and charged with threatening to assault and murder Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
The freshman Somali-born representative of Minneapolis and its suburbs is one of the few Muslim women to serve in Congress and has earned a reputation during her short tenure so far as being one the leaders of the incoming class of progressive Democrats.
Her willingness to forcefully fight against the powerful role that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby has in helping set the U.S. agenda in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in the land that Israel has occupied since 1967 has raised accusations of anti-Semitism against Representative Omar and made her a target of right-wing evangelicals who not only bristle at her Islamic faith but who support Israel for the role the nation will supposedly play in their belief of the coming end times and subsequent rapture — a rapture that ironically will leave both Jews and Muslims behind in their religious visions.
According to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of New York, a man identifying himself as Patrick W Carlineo Jr. called Rep. Omar’s Washington DC office and made the following statement to a staff member:
“Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why do you work for her, she’s a fucking terrorist. I’ll put a bullet in her fucking skull.”
Congresswoman Omar’s staff member described the caller as sounding angry, but he nonetheless provided his name and contact info which was promptly handed over to the Capitol Police’s Threat Assessment department which coordinated an investigation with the FBI.
Within a week, special agents from the FBI were knocking on the 55-year-old Carlineo’s door in Addison, near Corning in south-western New York. The suspect was unsurprised by the visit from the agents and told them that he knew that they were questioning him about the call, describing himself as a patriot who loves the president and hates having radical Muslims in the government.
“If our forefathers were alive, they’d put a bullet in her head,” Carlineo told the FBI agent, apparently forgetting that those same forefathers enshrined freedom of religion in the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The suspect was then asked to read the transcript of his call with Rep. Omar’s office aloud, which he did while claiming it was not exactly what he said. but nevertheless insisting that the congresswoman supported Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and that her congressional election was “illegitimate.”
After being informed that lying to the FBI could result in additional charges against him and that a recording of the call existed, Carlineo told the agents that he would be honest and that he was angry couldn’t remember exactly what he had said.
After confirming with Carlineo that he indeed did possess firearms in his home, the FBI agents had all the evidence they needed to establish probable cause that he had tried to “threaten to assault and murder a United States official while engaged in the performance of official duties and with intent to retaliate against such United States official while engaged in the performance of official duties,” in violation of the law.
Carlineo now faces up to ten years in prison on charges of threatening to kill a federal official.
With a president who provokes and panders to his base of white nationalists with rallies and tweets promoting fear and enmity towards any religious, racial, and ethnic minority in America — rather than attempt to unify the fractious country made more so by his divisive rhetoric — the nation has only one direction to point to in order to assign blame for actions such as this, the pipebombs mailed to Democratic leaders and the media, and the slaughter that took place at the Pittsburgh synagogue: directly to the White House and President Donald Trump.
You can read the full criminal complaint against Patrick W Carlineo Jr. for his threats against Congresswoman Ilhan Omar in the attachment to the tweet below.
Trump supporter Patrick Carlineo charged with threatening to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar. Carlineo told the FBI "that he was a patriot, that he loves the President, and that he hates radical Muslims in our government." Criminal complaint: https://t.co/y3nWvIhCgc
— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) April 6, 2019
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.
Original reporting by Clint Hendler at Mother Jones.