“‘There Is Nowhere I Feel Safe’: Election Officials Describe Threats Fueled by Trump”


Rusty Bowers, the Republican speaker of Arizona’s House, braced every weekend for hordes of Trump supporters, some with weapons, who swarmed his home and blared videos that called him a pedophile.

“We had a daughter who was gravely ill, who was upset by what was happening outside,” he said. She died not long after, in late January 2021.

Gabriel Sterling, a top state election official in Georgia, recalled receiving an animated picture of a slowly twisting noose along with a note accusing him of treason. His boss, Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, recounted that Trump supporters broke into his widowed daughter-in-law’s house and threatened his wife with sexual violence.

And Wandrea Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, two Black women who served as election workers during the pandemic in Georgia, suffered an onslaught of racist abuse and were driven into hiding after Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Donald J. Trump’s lawyer, lied that they had rigged the election against Mr. Trump.

“I’ve lost my name and I’ve lost my reputation,” Ms. Freeman said, adding as her voice rose with emotion, “Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you?”

Election official after election official testified to the House Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday in searing, emotional detail how Mr. Trump and his aides unleashed violent threats and vengeance on them for refusing to cave to his pressure to overturn the election in his favor.

The testimony showed how Mr. Trump and his aides encouraged his followers to target election officials in key states — even going so far as to post their personal cellphone numbers on Mr. Trump’s social media channels, which the committee cited as a particularly brutal effort by the president to cling to power.

“Donald Trump did not care about the threats of violence,” said Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the vice chairwoman of the committee. “He did not condemn them. He made no effort to stop them. He went forward with his fake allegations anyway.”

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