On Thursday, Paul Vernon Hoeffer, who you know is accused of something heinous since we’re using all three names, was charged with “three counts of interstate transmission of threats to kidnap or injure.” According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida, the Palm Beach Gardens man allegedly threatened a congresswoman, calling her in March of 2019, and saying that he would “rattle her head with bullets and cut her head off.”
He reportedly followed that up by calling a district attorney in Illinois with a similar threat. On top of that, the 60-year-old Hoeffer most recently, less than a week after Donald Trump got his ass handed to him in the 2020 election, “called a congresswoman in New York” to tell her that he would “rip her head off.” And while prosecutors did not specifically identify the two congresswomen by name, they did list them as "N.P." and "A.O.C." according to the prosecutors’ filing, leading most people to believe that Hoeffer’s threats were directed at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
This would not be the first time Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has been targeted for threats due to the high-pitched “rhetoric” in our public discourse these days. A Texas man who was also a Jan. 6 insurrection participant was hit with five criminal charges stemming from his threat to “assassinate” the Democratic Representative in January of this year.
It is no surprise that American citizens feel or believe that this kind of terrorism is acceptable; GOP officials have been making similar threats and accusing Democratic officials, like Rep. Ilhan Omar, of being outright incestuous spies and traitors to the country. Those officials have not faced any legal ramifications for their actions and their political party has condoned this dangerous rhetoric and evidence-free claims—in most cases, participating in propagating and outright defending similar attacks.
Politico reports that Hoeffer was released from prison on Dec. 1 “on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond and was told to stay in his residence except for court and medical appointments.” Hoeffer faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines for each of the three counts. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Hoeffer is a registered Democrat, though no other outlet has confirmed this. He has pleaded not guilty; his trial is set for Jan. 18, 2022.