SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is fueling a spike in anti-government rhetoric, which included a voicemail message to Bay Area Congressman Eric Swalwell and his family.
A one-minute, 48-second voicemail message was left for the congressman at his district office in Castro Valley.
“I hope someone cuts this mother’s throat from ear to ear. Cut off her f*****g head. Swalwell is a worthless piece of shit. Cut the head off her woman, cut off her children’s I don’t care.”
It was just a small sample of the message which included 55 profanities with several expletives and racial slurs used.
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“I’m going to do everything I can to protect my family, but I’m not going to be intimidated,” Swalwell said.
Swalwell has been targeted by extremists before, and he’s certainly not alone.
The Anti-Defamation League said that following the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago on Monday, violent far-right rhetoric exploded online.
For a while, the phrase “civil war” was even trending on Twitter.
“What we’re seeing are unprecedented numbers right now, and that’s really terrifying,” said ADL’s Teresa Drenick.
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For Swalwell, the growing trend poses a grave danger not just to him and his family, but to the nation as a whole.
“Our country is at a very dangerous moment in its history right now. I would say democracy is on life support,” he said.
Swalwell fears that what was once on the fringes of the internet is becoming increasingly mainstream.
Some of them, even repeated by number of chosen ones.
He calls on all his colleagues in Congress to moderate the rhetoric.
“It excites people and makes them think they need to take up arms against an anarchic government when that’s just not the case,” Swalwell said.
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Perhaps even more dangerous, says Swalwell, is that many of those officials who repeat extremist views don’t actually believe much of what they say.
According to Swalwell, they just do it to score political points.
“The danger with that mindset is that the quote, the non-quote fans, their constituents, don’t see it that way and they interpret it as real,” he said.
But despite the rise in extremism, Swalwell says he still holds great hope for America. To say that there is much more that unites us than separating us.
“Most of us in this country, whether it’s gun safety, health care, the environment, money in politics, we really want the same things,” Swalwell said.
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