Colorado justices face flood of threats after disqualifying Trump from the ballot

December 21, 2023
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In the 24 hours since the Colorado Supreme Court kicked former President Donald Trump off the state’s Republican primary ballot, social media outlets have been flooded with threats against the justices who ruled in the case, according to a report obtained by NBC News.

Advance Democracy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that conducts public interest research, identified “significant violent rhetoric” against the justices and Democrats, often in direct response to Trump’s posts about the ruling on his platform Truth Social. They found that some social media users posted justices’ email addresses, phone numbers and office building addresses.

“This ends when we kill these f–kers,” a user wrote on a pro-Trump forum that was used by several Jan. 6 rioters.

“What do you call 7 justices from the Colorado Supreme Court at the bottom of the ocean?” asked another user. “A good start.”

Posts — whose images and links were included in the report — noted a variety of methods that could be used to kill those perceived as Trump’s enemies: hollow-point bullets, rifles, rope, bombs.

“Kill judges. Behead judges. Roundhouse kick a judge into the concrete,” read a post on a fringe website. “Slam dunk a judge’s baby into the trashcan.”

The threats fit into a predictable and familiar pattern, seen time and time again after legal developments against Trump. After the FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, a man who had been at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, attacked the FBI field office in Cincinnati with a nail gun while holding an AR-15-style rifle. When a grand jury in Georgia indicted Trump, some of his supporters posted the grand jurors’ addresses online. When U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan was assigned to special counsel Jack Smith’s federal election interference case against Trump, she faced threats from Trump supporters. A federal appeals court pointed out the pattern when it upheld a narrowed gag order against Trump in his election interference case this month, noting that those he publicly targets are often threatened and harassed.

Daniel J. Jones, the president Advance Democracy, the group that compiled the report, said the consistency of the violent threats and rhetoric was especially concerning.

“We are seeing significant violent language and threats being made against the Colorado justices and others perceived to be behind yesterday’s Colorado Supreme Court ruling,” Jones, a former FBI investigator and staffer for the Senate Intelligence Committee, told NBC News in a statement.

“The normalization of this type of violent rhetoric — and lack of remedial action by social media entities — is cause for significant concern,” he said. “Trump’s statements, which have sought to delegitimize and politicize the actions of the courts, is serving as a key driver of the violent rhetoric. Political leaders on both sides of the political aisle need to speak out against these calls for violence, and social media platforms need to reassess their role in hosting and promoting this rhetoric.”

A spokesman for the Colorado Supreme Court did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A Trump campaign official did not immediately respond to a request for comment.





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