“We should hang these traitors where they stand,” the email said, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
In an initial comment to that newspaper, Buck denied writing the campaign email, which arrived in the form of a letter and bore his signature. “That was not me. I did not see that,” Buck told Times reporter Steve Contorno. “I would never talk like that.”
But Buck sent another statement later in the day that cited the federal punishment for treason, which includes death, prison time of at least five years and a fine of not less than $10,000.
“Anyone who commits treason against the United States should be tried to the full extent of the law,” Buck said, according to the Times.
House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (La.) disavowed Buck’s words in a statement Wednesday, saying “there’s no place for inciting violence in politics.”
“Instead of doubling down on these disgraceful comments, the candidate ought to apologize unequivocally and denounce these unacceptable statements,” Scalise said.
Buck drew more than criticism from his party. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has decided to drop Buck from the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Young Guns program supporting 2020 candidates — a decision the Committee chair agrees with, NRCC spokesman Michael McAdams told The Washington Post Wednesday.
McCarthy and Buck’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Buck is challenging Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist in Florida’s House District 13. Crist is a former state attorney general and governor who has represented St. Petersburg in Congress since 2017. Buck was the Republican candidate for the District 13 seat in 2018, but was defeated handily by Crist.
The original fundraising email Buck’s campaign sent out on Nov. 26 names Omar, who is Somali-born, as well as fellow freshman Democratic congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) — all women of color. It also calls out Crist and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), reported the Tampa Bay Times.
Tlaib tweeted that candidates making “violent threats very publicly without hesitation reaffirms just how much white supremacy has spread” within the National Republican Congressional Committee.
The chair of the NRCC, Rep. Tom Emmer, is also a Minnesota congressman.
Twitter shut down the accounts of Danielle Stella, Omar’s Republican challenger in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, after her campaign tweeted Omar should be “tried for #treason and hanged,” related to baseless allegations that Omar gave information to Iran.