Letter: Utah leaders should denounce threats of violence

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Gov. Spencer Cox speaks at a news conference in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.

Several weeks ago, I wrote to my congressman, Chris Stewart, via his website, asking him to clearly and publicly disapprove threats of violence that had been made by Trump supporters. In one instance, Trump lawyer Joe diGenova had said that former election security official Chris Krebs should be “executed” for stating that our recent federal elections were secure. In another, Steve Bannon had said that FBI director Wray and epidemiologist Dr. Fauci should be beheaded. I asked Rep. Stewart to respond to my request.

The congressman did not respond to my request, and he made no statement criticizing diGenova’s and Bannon’s remarks. Since then, we have seen Trump supporters, at Trump’s urging and based upon false claims of election fraud, violently storm the U.S. Capitol, in an effort to block the U.S. Congress from accepting the states’ electoral college results. Five people died in that violence.

I could not have been alone in asking the congressman to speak out against the violent threats that preceded last Wednesday’s treasonous behavior at the Capitol. I can only conclude, therefore, that the congressman is complicit in that behavior, and that blood is on his hands. Come 2022, he should be voted out of office by his constituents. Otherwise, we, too, will be complicit in Trump’s treason.

It is now credibly reported that the FBI is warning of armed protests at state capitols around Inauguration Day. I have no problem with those who may choose to appear at Utah’s Capitol to peacefully protest. But brandishing firearms is not peaceful protest; it is thuggery. Gov. Spencer Cox should immediately, clearly, and publicly urge all such Trumpist protestors to leave their firearms at home. Otherwise, he too, and those who voted for him, will be complicit in any resultant violence.

J. Kevin Murphy, Salt Lake City

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