After a Trump supporter allegedly sent threats to the Texas Democrat and a federal judge, Jackson Lee is warning the public not to take the rhetoric lightly.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said alleged threats made against her and a Black federal judge by a Donald Trump supporter are “chilling” for her family. She warned additional threats are likely if Trump continues to stoke the flames of hatred.
In a CNN interview on Saturday, Jackson Lee discussed an alleged threatening voicemail a Texas woman left for U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over Trump’s federal election interference case. The woman, identified by authorities as 43-year-old Abigail Jo Shry, allegedly called Chutkan a racial slur and threatened to kill the judge and Jackson Lee.
“Hey you stupid slave,” Shry said before she referred to Chutkan using the N-word, a federal affidavit alleged. “You are in our sights, we want to kill you. … If Trump doesn’t get elected in 2024, we are coming to kill you, so tread lightly, b—-.”
“You will be targeted personally, publicly, your family, all of it,” Shry allegedly said.
Shry also “made a direct threat to kill” Jackson Lee, the LGBTQ community and unnamed Democrats, the affidavit alleged. Shry told authorities that she made the call but had no plans to travel to Washington, D.C., or Houston to carry out the threats, according to the affidavit.
Shry was arrested and charged last week with transmitting a threat to injure a person via interstate commerce. A lawyer for Shry didn’t immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
“It’s chilling for your family,” Jackson Lee said in the CNN interview Saturday.
She said additional threats — or worse — could be on the horizon if Trump doesn’t stop with the extreme rhetoric:
I thank law enforcement, who has really paid attention to this. And even though this individual may have certain issues, we don’t know who else is thinking about it. The temperature needs to be brought down, and the former president needs to be actively engaged in stopping the hysteria and egging people on — provoking them to do things that are against the Constitution and the order of this nation. Law and order has to prevail, not only for us but for him.
Jackson Lee said Trump’s social media rants about Chutkan were unmistakable encouragements for his followers to take issue with the judge.
The former president called her biased and unfair and gave the inference that she would not be handling his case — four counts of conspiracy under the special counsel — fairly. And what does that do? Whether someone is sitting on their couch drinking or however they might be motivated — or others might be motivated — they’ve been given a signal that she is wrong and she is not right.
Last week, I wrote about Trump’s public attacks on Black prosecutors and judges who wield power over him and his documented willingness to channel racist anger toward Black folks for his own personal benefit. You can read a bit more about the history of white extremists’ undermining Black lawyers here.
Jackson Lee, a former judge, pushed back against claims from Trump and his supporters that Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric is completely protected by the First Amendment.
“In law school, we’re always taught that you cannot cry fire in a crowded theater,” she said Saturday. “We have fire right now. We have people who are very tense. We have people who are loyal without question to his movement and his words.”