Man arrested for threatening Dems, citing Omar comments

Man arrested for threatening Dems, citing Omar comments
© Greg Nash

Authorities have announced the arrest of a South Florida man who is accused of making threatening phone calls to three Democratic lawmakers earlier this week in which he lashed out at Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarGOP amps up efforts to recruit women candidates Ocasio-Cortez, progressives trash 'antisemitic' Politico illustration of Bernie Sanders It's Joe Biden's 2020 presidential nomination to lose MORE (D-Minn.).

The U.S. Capitol Police said that 49-year-old John Kless of Broward County, Fla., left threatening voicemails with the offices of Reps. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellHouse Intelligence enjoys breakthrough with Justice Department Hillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers MORE (D-Calif.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibSteyer plans impeachment push targeting Democrats over recess Tlaib urges Mnuchin to seek personal legal advice Pelosi faces tipping point on Trump impeachment MORE (D-Mich.) as well as Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony Booker2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan MORE (D-N.J.).

Kless mentioned Omar in all three messages, according to police, calling her a “towel head” and member of the Taliban and referencing recent comments she made about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


The Capitol Police told The Hill it does not comment on ongoing investigations. Details of the allegations were filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and dated Thursday.

"It was your Taliban bitch, the one who opened up her f---ing towel head mouth about how 'some people did it,' " authorities say Kless said in his message to Tlaib, who along with Omar is one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

"You know what? She's lucky she's just getting death threats, bitch. So are you. All right? You're lucky they're just threats. Motherf---er. 'Cuz the day when the bell tolls, whore, and this country comes to a war, there will be no more threats. Your life will be on the f---ing line." 

Kless allegedly called Swalwell a communist and said someone would kill him if he enacted the gun control proposals that he has put at the center of his presidential bid.

Authorities also say the suspect repeatedly used racial slurs against Booker and said that he wanted to kill black people, telling him to tell his "colleague with the towel on her head to shut up about 9/11."

Omar has recently been the focus of Republican ire over comments she made in March to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), remarks that critics have cited to accuse her of downplaying the 9/11 attacks.

“CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something, and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties,” she said last month. 

She later pushed back on those who criticized her for referring to 9/11 as "some people did something," pointing to the larger context of her remarks.

In two of the three voicemails left this week, police say that Kless also defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE while telling Tlaib and Booker that they should stop criticizing the White House. 

Authorities said they looked up Kless’s name and phone number and found he had left "profane/harassing" messages at Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi uses Trump to her advantage Fake Pelosi video sparks fears for campaigns Trump goes scorched earth against impeachment talk MORE's (D-Calif.) office as well.

Kless was charged with making threatening communications and could face up to five years behind bars.