DES MOINES, Iowa – State Rep. Ross Wilburn, D-Ames, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, told reporters Tuesday that he received several racist threats following an op/ed he wrote criticizing former President Donald Trump’s before his rally in Des Moines.
“The n-word was used multiple times. The voice mails and the email made reference to my writing about former president Trump and made specific references to my comments regarding Trump’s actions on January 6. This led me to believe that they had read my op-ed,” Wilburn said.
The Des Moines Register first reported that Wilburn received an anonymous voicemail message with a lynching threat in a voicemail message at home on October 9. The following day, he received another voicemail message with a racial epithet. He also received a profanity-laden email with racial insults in his state legislative account.
The Ames Police Department said they are investigating the threats.
Iowa Republicans condemned the threats.
“I strongly condemn the racist threats made toward Chairman Wilburn. We can have a spirited debate on issues and candidates without threats of violence. I am pleased the authorities are looking into this and hope those responsible are held accountable for their actions,” Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said.
“This type of hate must never be tolerated. Whoever is responsible should be held accountable. Racism of any kind is unacceptable and not who we are as Iowans,” Gov. Kim Reynolds tweeted.
“Racism & threats of violence are never acceptable,” U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, tweeted. He said that we should be able to have civil political discussions with our neighbors. Grassley said those responsible should be held accountable.
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, also called for accountability for those making the threats.
“This kind of bigoted hatred and threat of violence is reprehensible, and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. These perpetrators should be held accountable,” she said on Twitter.
Democrats said that these threats are part of a larger trend.
“I join my fellow Iowans in condemning the racist threats against State Representative Ross Wilburn. These threats are part of a disturbing trend by some people to intimidate public officials, candidates and other leaders,” Iowa Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls, D-Coralville, said. “Instead of politicians who inflame and benefit from the politics of hate, we need leaders of both parties to stand up to these threats because Iowa is better than this.”
U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, said these threats shouldn’t be seen as an isolated incident.
“I condemn these racist threats against @ross_wilburn unequivocally, and ask Iowans to not see this as an isolated incident,” she tweeted. “From school board meetings to the halls of our Capitols, violent threats towards public servants & our fellow Iowans are sadly becoming more frequent.”