GOP congressman says threats are ‘not what our democracy is about’

Physical threats to lawmakers, their staff and family are “not what our democracy is about” Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, a Republican who received a violent voicemail after voting for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, said Sunday.

“It’s a tough time, and it’s so unsettling,” Upton told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” when asked if he was concerned the Capitol insurrection was the beginning or end of a new era of political violence. “It is a sad day in America when this type of stuff — I have got a better four-letter word for it, but I will save you — when it happens.”

Upton, one of 13 House Republicans who voted with Democrats to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, previously shared with CNN a voicemail in which a caller told him: “I hope you die. I hope everybody in your f**king family dies,” while labeling him a “f**king piece of sh*t traitor.” His office said the voicemail was not an isolated incident. The calls came after Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, also a Republican, tweeted the phone numbers of those who had voted for the bill and later called them traitors.

The infrastructure legislation, which passed the Senate in August and will be signed by President Joe Biden on Monday, will deliver $550 billion in new federal investments in America’s infrastructure over five years, including roads, bridges, mass transit, rail, airports, ports and waterways. Upton again defended his vote for the legislation on Sunday, telling Tapper the measure “needed to happen” and that he was glad the bill passed in Congress.

He is also one of the few House Republicans who voted to hold Steve Bannon, who was indicted by a grand jury last week, in criminal contempt of Congress after he defied a subpoena from the committee investigating the January 6 riots at the US Capitol. Upton suggested if former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is also referred for criminal contempt, he’d be open to voting in support of that as well.

“One of the reasons that I voted to hold Steve Bannon in contempt was he didn’t cooperate at all, and in fact, at the time, and one of the arguments was that even Mark Meadows was having his lawyers communicate with the committee,” he said. “And if you stonewall Congress…If you refuse to participate in that, all of a sudden you don’t really have an equal branch of government trying to get to the answers of this. So for me, I want to see what the Select Committee will do, see what the recommendation is and then take it from there.”

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