Vandals damaged the Lincoln offices of the Nebraska Republican Party, damaging windows by throwing bricks through them and spray-painting the phrase “Abolish ICE” on the sidewalk in front of the building, the Omaha World-Herald is reporting. “Abolish ICE” has become something of a rallying cry of late, with the increasing support for the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement due in part to the recent policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.
A newspaper delivery carrier noticed the damage at about 3:00 a.m. and notified the police. They are currently reviewing security camera footage from nearby businesses and looking for potential witnesses.
The Nebraska GOP, for its part, plans to install security cameras in its headquarters now, as well.
In the meantime, the group has boarded up the windows and plans to proceed with business as usual. That includes having volunteers work the phones to advocate for Republican candidates.
Kenny Zoeller, executive director of the state Republican Party, blames the recent rhetoric of “The Resistance” for the vandalism. He said he hopes that neither party would condone vandalism.
For her part, Jane Kleeb, chairwoman of the Nebraska Democratic Party, also condemned the vandalism.
“I think it’s a terrifying place that our country is in right now, where people are resorting to violence, vandalism and death threats to political leaders, staff members and candidates. And it’s happening to all of us.”
Nebraska Republican Party to hold a news conference to talk about the vandalism. "Abolish Ice" spray painted on the sidewalk. pic.twitter.com/QzhkEc7IwA— NebraskaRadioNetwork (@nebraskanews) July 3, 2018
Politics have, in fact, gotten quite ugly recently. In 2017 Congressman Steve Scalise was shot; months later, a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent, and one woman, Heather Heyer, died when a protester allegedly drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. Lately, several Trump officials, such as Kirstjen Nielsen, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Scott Pruitt, have all been met by protesters. And California Democrat Maxine Waters has been the subject of death threats.
The ugliness hasn’t escaped Nebraska. For example, Democratic Secretary of State candidate Spencer Danner, who is African American, has been called an ugly racial slur, and has been the target of death threats from both Republicans and fellow Democrats.
Similarly, Republican U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer’s Lincoln office was vandalized in December, and Republican Representative Jeff Fortenberry’s yard was targeted with derogatory signs over Christmas.
Back in Lincoln, Mayor Chris Beutler and Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister both issued statements condemning the vandalism, and Bliemeister said that his department will investigate the vandalism thoroughly.