WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two racist and potentially murderous men are the latest in a series of men – many of whom are white nationalists and/or supporters of Donald Trump – who have been convicted in federal courts for threatening to kill Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).
On March 21, Ceasar Sayoc – a man who reportedly once called himself a white supremacist and drove a van covered in pro-Trump images – pleaded guilty in federal court for mailing potentially explosive devices to Waters’ Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. offices, and to the offices or residences of 12 other Democratic elected officials, private citizens, and media figures. Sayoc pleaded guilty to 65 counts, which include illegal mailing of explosives with intent to kill and using weapons of mass destruction. He is being held without bail, and faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.
On March 20, Stephen Taubert was found guilty by a federal grand jury after calling Waters’ Los Angeles office in July 2018, stating, “I’m gonna be at every event that stupid (expletive, n-word, expletive) is at and I’m gonna kill that (expletive, expletive) and all you stupid (expletive, n-word) that work for her.” He also threatened former President Barack Obama in a separate call. Taubert was convicted for three federal charges; influencing, impeding, or retaliating against a federal official, making a threat in interstate commerce and making a threat against a former president of the United States. The jury also found that Taubert selected his victims because of race, which provides an enhancement under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines for hate-crime motivation. He now faces up to 20 years in prison for the three convictions.
The Sayoc and Taubert convictions follows that of Anthony Scott Lloyd, a Trump supporter in California, who pleaded guilty in April 2018 to threatening Waters in a voicemail, during which he stated, “… if you continue to make these threats towards the president, you’re going to wind up dead, Maxine, because we will kill you. You can call the FBI, you can call the NSA, you can call whoever the (expletive) you want and report this. (Expletive), you do it again, you’re dead. You’re a (expletive) dead (expletive, n-word).”
A slew of white supremacists have recently been charged or convicted of violent hate crimes. Richard Mel Phillips, pleaded guilty in November 2018 to leaving a threatening voicemail message with Waters’ office stating, “there is nothing stopping me from killing (you),” and he would travel to her home state and, “stick a bullet through your (expletive) skull.”
Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson – a self-described white nationalist who advocated for “focused violence” in order to establish a white homeland – was charged in February, for plotting to kill Waters, several members of Congress, and television anchors. Following his arrest, federal agents found 15 firearms, including seven rifles, and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his home in a suburb of Washington, D.C.
“I am pleased by the identification, arrest, and conviction of the men who threatened me, my family, and my staff in support of their racist, white supremacist, and hate-filled agenda,” said Waters in a statement. “Let these convictions be a lesson to all those who would threaten to kill or cause bodily harm to us: you will be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
She went on the say, “Unfortunately, these types of violent threats – and other acts of hate – by ultra right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world. This disturbing trend is only made worse by the violent rhetoric and bullying tactics of the current President of the United States. Violence and all forms of hate have no place in our political discourse and our society. I applaud the efforts of the U.S. Capitol Police, FBI, Secret Service, federal prosecutors, and other law enforcement entities, as well as my colleagues in the U.S. Congress, who are united in the effort to identify and bring to justice all those responsible for violent threats and all acts of hate.”