Even though Rep. John Curtis. R-Utah, voted against impeaching President Donald Trump this week, he still received a death threat Thursday for his earlier vote not to overturn the Electoral College vote count that finalized Joe Biden’s election victory.
On MSNBC on Thursday, Curtis held up a paper that he said had just been taped to his office door. It pictures his face with the eyes covered by skulls and crossbones, a symbol of death.
“Wanted for Treason!” it says. “For resisting the true victor Trump and willful failure to stand to object to the corrupt and vitiated states!”
It adds a quote from Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers saying in part, “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense.”
So, Curtis was asked on national TV if he agrees with a few House colleagues who say they are worried for their lives.
“I know my colleagues are very, very concerned. It’s just a very troubling time for all of us,” Curtis said.
Curtis also talked about how to move forward in unsettled times and amid threats.
“We’re in a bad spot right now. I understand that there’s lots of blame to go around,” he said. “I personally am waking up and looking in the mirror and saying, ‘What do I need to do different? How do I play my role in changing what’s going on here in our country?’”
He offered some advice for Republicans, including perhaps those who threatened him.
“We lost,” he said. “We need to move on. We need to worry about winning elections in the future.”
He said he would love to see a bipartisan House-Senate commission established to study how to improve election laws so all Americans can feel confident that their vote matters and is counted fairly.
“We’ve lost confidence in so many things all around,” he said. “And as elected officials, we’ve got to figure out how to restore that confidence.”
When Curtis was asked if he is confident that his vote against impeaching Trump will be proven correct over time, Curtis said he isn’t sure because the vote was rushed and members still have many unanswered questions.
“A lot of us felt robbed that we had 48 hours to gather facts to make this decision,” he said. “A lot of us may have to come up with different votes if more facts had come forward. And to me, that’s just the tragedy that we moved this so quickly.”
Even though House members were present and saw riots at the Capitol, Curtis said he’s unsure whether Trump has direct blame for inciting them.
“People have been very quick to blame the president for causing the riot. We know that as facts come out more and more that people came to Washington, D.C., premeditated to do the riot,” Curtis said.
“I’m not saying that absolves the president, perhaps some of his actions, the words before the riot inspired that. But we didn’t get a chance to explore that,” he added. “Who made the decisions not to send in the National Guard sooner? Who made the decisions not to have the National Guard there to begin with? These are all questions that a lot of us would like answered.”
Last week in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol siege, Curtis more strongly condemned Trump and blamed him directly.
“What happened was an act of domestic terrorism inspired and encouraged by our President,” he tweeted on Jan. 6.
Tribune reporter Bryan Schott contributed to this report.