Nearly six full months after Donald Trump’s election loss to President Joe Biden was certified and seven months after the 2020 presidential election, election officials and their families around the country still are receiving death threats from supporters of the former president.
Reuters interviews with more than a dozen election workers and top officials – and a review of disturbing texts, voicemails and emails that they and their families received – reveal the previously hidden breadth and severity of the menacing tactics. Tricia Raffensperger, wife of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, shared with the news agency some of the messages. On April 5 she received a text telling her that a family member was “going to have a very unfortunate incident.” Another a week earlier stated, “We plan for the death of you and your family every day.” And on April 24 she received the chilling text message, “You and your family will be killed very slowly.”
In late November, the family went into hiding for nearly a week after intruders broke into the home of their widowed daughter-in-law. That evening, people who identified themselves to police as Oath Keepers – the far-right militia group that has supported Trump’s bid to overturn the election – were found outside the Raffenspergers’ home, according to Tricia Raffensperger and two sources with direct knowledge of the family’s ordeal.
“Brad and I didn’t feel like we could protect ourselves,” she said, explaining the decision to flee their home.
The Raffenspergers are not alone. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, told Reuters she continues to receive death threats. Michigan’s Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson – a Democrat who faced armed protesters outside her home in December – is also still getting threats, her spokesperson said.
Trump’s ongoing rhetoric promoting his “big lie” is widely seen as continuing stoke anger among his supporters. His spokesman, Jason Miller, did not respond to Reuters’ questions about the ongoing harassment of election workers, including why Trump has not forcefully denounced the torrent of threats being made in his name.