Florida man arrested after threats to 2 Democratic presidential candidates
John Kless, of Tamarac, made his initial appearance Friday in front of U.S. Magistrate Barry Seltzer on a charge of making a threatening communication. He allegedly made the threats to Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.; and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.
Kless supposedly made phone calls to each on Tuesday. Booker and Swalwell are running for the Democratic nomination for president. Tlaib is a freshman member of U.S. and one of two Muslim females in the chamber.
Kless allegedly referenced in all three profanity-dominated messages another member of Congress, freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., where he called her a “towel head” and falsely claimed she was a member of the Taliban.
Omar has received criticism from conservatives in a recent speech about Islamophobia in the United States after 9/11 terrorist attacks, where here “some people did something” comments were seen by some as minimizing the incident.
“It was your Taliban [expletive], the one who opened up her [expletive] towel-head mouth about how ‘some people did it,'” Kless allegedly said in his message to Tlaib. “You know what? She’s lucky she’s just getting death threats, [expletive]. So are you. All right?”
“So if you want death, keep that [expletive] up,” Kless allegedly said. “Keep talking that [expletive], because the American people are gonna (expletive) war.”
It’s the second time that Booker has been connected to threats made against him. In March, Rick Lynn Simmons, 52, of Kentwood, Mich., pleaded guilty to one count of interstate communication with a threat to injure in a vulgar, racially-tinged voicemail to Booker last year.