Herb Strentz reacts to a new low in public discourse about the 2020 election. -promoted by Laura Belin
Put this in the “counting-the-days” file.
United States Code Title 18, Section 871 deals with knowingly and willfully mailing or otherwise making “any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the president of the United States”.
The offense is punishable by up to five years in prison, a $250,000 maximum fine, a $100 special assessment, and up to three years of supervised release.
On the other hand, citizens in general and many public servants are fair game, as suggested by this news account:
On Monday [November 30] President Trump’s campaign lawyer and former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova said that fired Trump cybersecurity chief Chris Krebs should be executed for saying that the election was the “most secure in United States history.” […]
“Anybody who thinks that this election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity [for Trump]. That guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot,” diGenova said.
diGenova is not the first close Trump aide to call for the death of an official in the president’s disfavor. In early November, former campaign chief and White House strategist Steve Bannon said FBI director Christopher Wray and public health expert Anthony Fauci should be beheaded.
Presumably diGenova and Wray would have condoned the same punishment for Benjamin Franklin. When there was discussion about what title a past president should have, Franklin is said to have put the issue to rest by saying there was no need for a title because an ex-president would be promoted to the rank of “citizen.”
President Barack Obama acknowledged in a 2014 speech: “the most important title is not ‘president’ or ‘prime minister’; the most important title is ‘citizen.’”
But, as Trump might say, “What can you expect from a guy from — you know—Kenya.”
Herb Strentz was dean of the Drake School of Journalism from 1975 to 1988 and professor there until retirement in 2004. He was executive secretary of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council from its founding in 1976 to 2000.
Editor’s note from Laura Belin: Following an outcry and some calls for disbarment, diGenova claimed in a December 1 written statement, “For anyone listening to the Howie Carr Show, it was obvious that my remarks were sarcastic and made in jest. I, of course, wish Mr. Krebs no harm. This was hyperbole in a political discourse.” You can listen here. It didn’t sound like a joke or sarcasm to me.
Top image: Screen shot from Joe diGenova’s latest appearance on the Howie Carr show.