In response to the guilty plea of an Islamophobic Trump supporter who threatened her life, Rep. Ilhan Omar has called for compassion in his sentencing.
Patrick W. Carlineo Jr., 55, of Addison, New York, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to charges of threatening to assault and murder a United States official, and being a felon in possession of firearms. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both, according to a statement released Monday from the Department of Justice.
Calineo reportedly called Omar’s office and made threats over the phone.
“Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she’s a (expletive) terrorist. Somebody ought to put a bullet in her (expletive) skull.” a staff member in Omar’s office recalled Carlineo said.
The DOJ statement states that Carlineo hates individuals he views as radical Muslims being in the U.S. government, believed that Omar supports Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and that her election was illegitimate.
“The answer to hate is not more hate; it is compassion,” Omar wrote in an open letter to U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frank Geraci. She asked him to consider a restorative justice approach in deliberating his consequences.
“He should understand the consequences of his actions, be given the opportunity to make amends and seek redemption,” Omar wrote.
The Washington Post reported that Carlineo told an FBI special agent that “if our forefathers were still alive, they’d put a bullet in her head.” He also told investigators he was a supporter of Donald Trump.
Carlineo told the investigator he had a shotgun and a .22 caliber firearm in his home, where they later discovered a wider array of firearms including three rifles, two shotguns, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. In 1998, Carlineo was convicted of criminal mischief, barring him from legally owning firearms, according to The Washington Post.
Omar, a Somali refugee, is one of the first two Muslim women elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She has been targeted by Islamophobic comments since taking office. In April, Donald Trump tweeted a video attacking her for the way she phrased a reference to 9/11—the video showed snippets of the twin towers burning interspersed with comments she made at a banquet for a Muslim civil rights organization. “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!” Trump tweeted with the video.
In September, Trump retweeted a comedian’s post claiming Omar had been “partying” and “celebrating the anniversary of 9/11. Omar responded by saying “The President of the United States is continuing to spread lies that put my life at risk.” The comedian Trump retweeted, Terrence K. Williams, has deleted that tweet.
“Threats of political violence and hate speech are not unique to Mr. Carlineo,” Omar said in her opening letter to the judge. “They are an increasing feature in our public sphere. We will not defeat it with anger and exclusion. We will defeat it with compassion.”