As the fallout from Donald Trump’s refusal to face election defeat continues, a state official has shared disturbing details of how the tumultuous political atmosphere has prompted violent threats against her.
Katie Hobbs is the Arizona Secretary of State, the official who oversees a state’s election procedures and any potential recount, and says she and her family have been subject to increasingly violent threats as a result of baseless claims of election malfeasance.
Taking the unusual step to release a statement about the ugly situation, Ms Hobbs didn’t mince her words about who she thought was responsible for the “vitriol and violence” she is facing.
“There are those, including the president, members of Congress and other elected officials, who are perpetuating misinformation and encouraging others to distrust the election result,” she said.
Their actions violate the oath of office each of them took, she lamented.
“It is well past time they stopped.”
Arizona was narrowly won by president-elect Joe Biden on his way to the White House, but the Trump administration had earlier fumed over the TV networks calling the state for his opponent on election day, riling up supporters.
A video published by NBC overnight showed a group of Trump supporters outside the home of Ms Hobbs at night chanting: “We are watching you!”
She said the intimidation will not prevent her from doing her job.
“The truth is, I was prepared for these threats of violence and vitriol. I have been a social worker for many years and can anticipate this reaction when certain people feel powerless and angry,” Ms Hobbs wrote in the statement.
“These actions are utterly abhorrent, especially when directed at my family and my staff.
“Now, I am calling on other leaders in this state, including the governor whose deafening silence has contributed to the growing unrest, to stand up for the truth.”
Critics rue decline of ‘Trump’s America’
The reaction this morning to the experience of Ms Hobbs has been withering.
Brian Klass, an American professor in global politics at University College London, was among those to wonder what had gone so wrong.
“When I was an election observer in Madagascar, the independent election commissioner told me someone sent her an envelope with a single bullet in it as a warning. That was 2013. At the time, I didn't think something similar would ever happen in the United States,” he wrote online.
“Yet here we are.”
Journalist and editor of The Atlantic, Ron Brownstein, put it down to “Trump’s America”.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs released this statement in response to ongoing and escalating threats of violence directed at her family and her office. pic.twitter.com/SzsRxzvOl1
— Secretary Katie Hobbs (@SecretaryHobbs) November 18, 2020
“Five years ago, did anyone imagine that threats of violence against public officials would become routine? Or taken beyond talk, as in Michigan? Or effectively encouraged by a president?” he wrote on Twitter.
“Easy to lose sight of how radically our situation has changed and how fast.”
When asked at a press conference on Wednesday (local time), the state’s governor Doug Ducey denounced the intimidation and threats of violence yet stopped short of heeding Ms Hobbs’ calls to stand up for the truth of election integrity.
“There are questions and those questions should be answered,” he said citing litigation that does not allege widespread fraud in Arizona but is concerned about how a routine audit is conducted.
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