It’s hard to imagine any scenario in which supporters of Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton or even John Kasich threaten to murder their party’s delegates for voicing reservations about their favored candidate, or for any other reason under the sun. But times being what they are, that’s exactly the sort of homicidal wrath some Donald Trump backers are unleashing upon Republican delegates in at least two states.
In Indiana, the Indianapolis Star reports GOP delegates are receiving thinly-veiled death threats against their families in the form of emails warning that they’re being watched and urging them to go into hiding. Kyle Babcock, one of the 27 GOP delegates selected last weekend to represent the Hoosier State at this summer’s Republican National Convention, said he would support his party’s nominee but drew ire from Trump fans for questioning whether the GOP frontrunner can defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election if the former secretary of state secures the Democratic nomination.
“Wrong side Kyle,” said one menacing, misspelled missive signed ‘The American.’ “Hope the families well. Your name and info was sent to me on a list that is going public. Think before you take a step down the wrong path, the American people want to have faith in your but it looks like a future in hiding is more appealing.”
Tom John, chairman of Indiana’s 7th Congressional District and an at-large delegate candidate who told Politico that Trump “doesn’t represent what I want my party to represent,” also received a not-so-subtle threat to burn his family alive.
“You know traditional burial is polluting the planet. Tom hope the family is well,” the email said. “Your name and info has been given to me on a list that is about to go public. Good luck becoming a delegate, we are watching you.”
In Colorado, The Right Scoop reports Trump supporters are posting private information of state Republican officials and encouraging other Trump backers to harass them. Colorado Republican Chairman Steve House said he’s received 3,000 calls to his home, including “death threats over running a caucus instead of a primary.”
”Shame on the people who think somehow that it is right to threaten me and my family over not liking the outcome of an election,” House wrote on Facebook.
Indiana State Police spokesman Dave Bursten told reporters on Tuesday that ISP is investigating some of the threats against the delegates to determine whether they cross the line from free speech to criminal activity. It’s a line Trump supporters have long blurred, spurred on by a candidate who has repeatedly endorsed and tolerated violence and hatred since day one of his presidential campaign.
Trump’s campaign is disavowing the threats made by supporters.
“That should never happen. There’s no place for any kind of intimidation or threats in politics, especially in Indiana,” Tony Samuel, vice chairman of Trump’s Indiana campaign, said in a statement. “Anyone that’s upset with what’s going on with the delegate selection process should come out and tell their friends to vote for Donald Trump on May 3 so that Indiana puts up all 57 delegates for Trump and it helps him get to 1,237 so we don’t have to worry about a contested convention.”
But a contested convention looks more likely than ever as Trump’s campaign struggles mightily to win delegates. The billionaire businessman was shut out in Colorado over the weekend, where a combination of a largely incompetent ground game and a tenacious push by GOP rival Ted Cruz netted the Texas senator all 34 of the Centennial State’s delegates. Trump blamed his abysmal Colorado performance on what he called a “rigged” selection process.
A series of spectacular technical failures by Team Trump also cost the frontrunner delegates in Iowa, Michigan, South Carolina and Indiana, raising further red flags regarding the candidate’s preparedness ahead of July’s GOP convention in Cleveland.
Given the rocky road ahead for the Trump campaign, the proclivity for brutality already demonstrated by some of its supporters and the candidate’s own enthusiastic embrace of violence, it seems only a matter of time before the next death threat—or worse—makes headlines.