By: Donald V. Watkins
Copyrighted and Published on August 17, 2023
An Editorial Opinion
Spirited debate about the appropriateness and efficacy of the four criminal cases pending against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump is perfectly fine within our democratic society.
Threats of violence and acts of violence are never appropriate tools for political participation in our system of democracy.
Specific Death Threats Made by Abigail Jo Shry
Abigail Jo Shry, 43, of Alvin, Texas was arrested last week on a charge of transmitting a threat to injure a person via interstate commerce. Shry's threats were directed at Judge Tanya Chutkan, the federal judge who is presiding over Trump's election interference case in Washington, D.C., and Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Texas).
A probable cause affidavit signed by Joshua Henry, a special agent with the Federal Protective Service in the Department of Homeland Security, describes Shry's threats to Judge Chutkan and Congresswoman Lee.
Here is the pertinent excerpt from Joshua Henry's affidavit:
Ms. Shry has admitted to making her call to Judge Chutkan's office. She also admitted that, if Congresswoman Lee travels to Alvin, Texas, federal law enforcement officials need to worry about her safety.
Despite His Personal Baggage, Trump is the likely GOP Nominee for President
Donald Trump has a public profile that includes 91 pending criminal charges, 26 sexual assault allegations, six past bankruptcies, five Vietnam-era draft deferments, four pending indictments, two failed impeachment attempts, one convicted Trump-owned company, one fake Trump university (that was shut down), one fake charity (that was shut down), a $25 million fraud settlement, a $5 million sexual abuse verdict, and a $2 million charity abuse judgment. Yet, a majority of Republicans voters support his candidacy for president.
Despite his documented personal baggage, Donald Trump is expected to become the GOP's nominee for president. Barring divine intervention, Trump will likely win the presidency, as well.
While it was within Ms. Shry’s First Amendment right to aggressively support Donald Trump's candidacy in every lawful way, she did not have a right to threaten the life of a federal judge and member of Congress in the exercise of this right. Nobody enjoys this right.
Ms. Shry is now sitting in Texas jail, which is where she belongs. Shry does not deserve a release on bond because she is obviously a clear and present danger to our democracy.
At some point, Republican leaders and Donald Trump's MAGA supporters must publicly and forcefully denounce violence as an acceptable election tool. Their failure to do so sends the wrong message to the fringe elements in the MAGA movement.
On August 14, 2022, I published an article in which I urged Trump supporters to stop threatening FBI agents, Department of Justice employees, and judicial officials. No Republican leader joined me in denouncing this kind of violence.
I will say it again, violence has no place in the American political system!