MAGA works increasingly through intimidation and threats:
CNN on Thursday aired harrowing audio of the kind of intimidation and threats that an increasing number of Republican lawmakers says they’ve faced over their opposition to the speakership bid of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). And it’s ugly. The caller leaves a message for an unnamed lawmaker’s wife and, while repeatedly qualifying that they aren’t talking about violence, they do threaten to harass the woman endlessly in public.
The caller says the woman’s husband must vote “Jim Jordan or more conservative, or you’re going to be [expletive] molested like you can’t ever imagine.”
The predominant narrative is that these threats — which Jordan has now rebuked but for which some members blame him — failed or even backfired. Jordan lost a third straight vote on Friday before the GOP conference bowed to reality and voted against proceeding with him as its speaker designate.
We’ve recapped some of this before, but it’s worth running through again at this moment:
- Retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) in recently published comments recounted how, during Trump’s post-Jan. 6 impeachment, a member of GOP leadership was leaning toward voting to convict him. Then the senator’s colleagues cited their personal safety, even invoking their children, the Atlantic’s McKay Coppins reported in his new book. The senator voted to acquit.
- In announcing his retirement, now-former congressman Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) cited a deluge of threats after his vote to impeach Trump.
- Now-former congressman Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) suggested that the violence on Jan. 6 also weighed heavily on not just impeachment votes but votes to certify the election, which more than two-thirds of House Republicans opposed. “They knew in their heart of hearts that they should’ve voted to certify, but some had legitimate concerns about the safety of their families,” Meijer said. “They felt that that vote would put their families in danger.”
- Former congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said that during Trump’s impeachment “there were members who told me that they were afraid for their own security — afraid, in some instances, for their lives.” She cited how “members of Congress aren’t able to cast votes, or feel that they can’t, because of their own security.”
- The Republican majority leader of the Pennsylvania state Senate said of signing a letter backing Trump’s attempt to overturn the results in that state: “If I would say to you, ‘I don’t want to do it,’ I’d get my house bombed tonight.”
Gym’s supporters, however, claim that you cannot hang the threats on him: