A Long Island man has been arrested for threatening to kill supporters of Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and President Donald Trump.
Martin Astrof, 75, went to Zeldin’s campaign headquarters in Nesconset, New York, area and “became irate” with a campaign worker around 11:15 a.m. on July 6, Suffolk County Police Department stated in a release.
“After threatening to kill the campaign worker and other supporters, Astrof backed his car up in an aggressive manner, nearly striking the worker,” the police said.
Man Arrested for Making Terroristic Threats and Reckless Endangerment https://t.co/OrOvBCPY1V
— Suffolk County PD (@SCPDHq) July 7, 2018
Astrof fled the scene but was shortly arrested in front of his Nesconset home.
He was charged with making a terroristic threat, a felony, and reckless endangerment in the second degree.
The target of the alleged threat was campaign volunteer Donato Panico, according to Zeldin.
Panico earned praise and respect when he, after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, spent 10 days straight at Ground Zero in Manhattan using his deli business to serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner to first responders.
“In the US, political scores are settled at the ballot box, not by trying to kill your political opponents,” Zeldin saidon Twitter after the incident. “Donato Panico is a great American, supporter of @realDonaldTrump & one of my campaign vols. He shouldn’t have been targeted like this today for his passion & involvement.”
In the US, political scores are settled at the ballot box, not by trying to kill your political opponents. Donato Panico is a great American, supporter of @realDonaldTrump & one of my campaign vols. He shouldn’t have been targeted like this today for his passion & involvement. https://t.co/Rh8Ae6MR4x
— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) July 7, 2018
In January, Panico quit his business of 30 years, Panico’s Community Market, to focus on his nonprofit, Heros 4 Our Heroes, which provides food for first responders, Newsday reported.
Panico lives in Smithtown, New York, making him Zeldin’s constituent.
In January, Zeldin invited Panico to Trump’s State of the Union address.
At the time, Zeldin said in a statement, “Donato embodies the values so many across Long Island look up to, and it is my honor to attend the State of the Union address alongside someone who has sacrificed so much to better the lives of others.”
One of the 9/11 first responders gave Panico a flag that has been flown near the Ground Zero ruins and also in Iraq, Zeldin said in a tweet. At Panico’s request, Zeldin donated the flag to Trump on June 21.
After 9/11, Donato Panico drove from his LI deli to Ground Zero to feed the 1st responders. In thanks, 1 of the 1st responders gave him a flag flown near the pile. This flag has also been flown in Iraq & today I gave it to @realdonaldtrump in the Oval Office at Donato’s request. pic.twitter.com/5GdEc60hmA
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) June 21, 2018
Another Republican, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), said on June 2, that a man had been arrested for threatening to kill him and his family.
“Capitol Police have issued an arrest warrant for a man who threatened to kill me and chop up my family with an ax,” Paul told WHAS-TV. “It’s just horrendous that we have to deal with things like this.”
Paul thanked Capitol Police on Twitter that day.
Thank you to the US Capitol Police for their arrest of the man who recently threatened to kill my family and me.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 2, 2018
Capitol Police declined to comment on an ongoing investigation.
Paul also attended the congressional baseball practice a year ago where James Hodgkinson opened fire on the Republican team and injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-L.A.). Paul wasn’t injured.
Aside from threats, employees and supporters of the Trump administration, and other Republicans, have faced a wave of harassment lately.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was spat on by hecklers at a movie theater. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was denied service at a restaurant. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was harassed by hecklers at a restaurant and outside her home. Trump’s son Baron was suggested by actor Peter Fonda to become a target of a pedophilic attack.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) doubled down on the trend, encouraging people to pester the Trump team in their private lives.
“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” she said.
The norms of reacting to those with opposing views have drastically sunk in just a few decades, noted Marc Ruskin, former FBI undercover agent and assistant district attorney, in a July 2 column for The Epoch Times.
“What these ‘hecklers’ do not begin to appreciate is that they can behave despicably only because they live in the most free, advanced, and open society in the world,” he wrote. “The irony is staggering. Thanks to those freedoms and rights, defended by those they despise—moderates and conservatives, dedicated to constitutional principles—they can act out their juvenile fantasies of militant action.”
From - The Epoch Times - by Petr Svab