Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said on Wednesday that a conservative group labeled her a “domestic terrorist,” a development which has led to death threats against her and has put her in danger.
As USA Today reports, an email from the conservative group Ohio College Republican Federation began making the rounds this week. The e-mail calls the freshman representative a “domestic terrorist,” and asks for donations in order to help stop the “brainwashing” of young college students into believing that Ocasio-Cortez is a “role model.”
The provenance of the email remains in dispute. A screenshot of the email was shared on Twitter by Dave Levinthal, a politics editor at The Center for Public Integrity. However, in a statement, the Ohio College Republican Federation claimed that the email was “unauthorized” and falsely sent in the group’s name.
Regardless of how or why the email came to be, Ocasio-Cortez complained in a tweet that it was emblematic of a larger problem of conservative groups, and individuals, spreading rhetoric that results in her getting death threats.
“This puts me in danger every time. Almost every time this uncalled for rhetoric gets blasted by conserv. grps, we get a spike in death threats to refer to Capitol Police. Multiple ppl have been arrested trying to harm me, Ilhan, & others.@GOP, what’s it going to take to stop?”
In a statement to The Guardian, Ohio College Republican Federation chairman Tom Ferrall apologized for the damage the “unauthorized” email has caused Ocasio-Cortez.
“We apologize to Congresswoman Ocascio-Cortez [sic] for the use of unacceptable language in this email, and we do not approve of the message conveyed.”
In her tweet, Ocasio-Cortez referenced her colleague Ilhan Omar, who also is a target for harsh criticism from the right, and who also claims to have received death threats. Omar, who is a Somali Muslim, has been criticized for, among other things, wearing her hijab on the floor of the House of Representatives, an act which Fox News host Jeanine Pirro suggested was indicative of her supposed plan to enact Sharia Law in the U.S., as Esquire reports. Similarly, she’s been harshly criticized for referring to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as “something” that “some people did.”
At least one person has been arrested in connection with allegedly making death threats to Omar. As USA Today reported at the time, last week a New York man named Patrick W. Carlineo was arrested for allegedly calling Omar’s office and threatening to “put a bullet in her [expletive] skull.”