A New York man is in custody after having been arrested and charged with threatening to assault and murder Rep. Ilhan Omar, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York.
Patrick W. Carlineo, Jr., 55, of Addison, New York, threatened to kill Omar because of her Muslim faith, according to a criminal complaint and accompanying affidavit.
Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, is one of the first two Muslim women serving in Congress after being elected in the 2018 midterms.
A call was placed to Omar’s Washington, DC, office on March 21, an FBI agent stated in the affidavit.
During the call, an individual, who identified himself as Pat Carlineo, said to a staff member: “Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she’s a (expletive) terrorist. I’ll put a bullet in her (expletive) skull.”
Omar’s office referred the threat to the U.S. Capitol Police, which began an investigation with the FBI.
Carlineo sounded angry during the call but provided the spelling of his name and contact information, the affidavit said.
He was later interviewed by authorities where he stated that he was a patriot, that he loves President Donald Trump, and “that he hates radical Muslims in our government,” the affidavit stated.
He had initially claimed he had told Omar’s office, “If our forefathers were still alive, they’d put a bullet in her head.”
When shown an email with the quote from the call regarding calling Omar a “terrorist” and threatening to kill her, Carlineo first replied that is not what he had said, according to the affidavit.
He later admitted to authorities he may have said something like that but was unsure.
Carlineo made an initial appearance Friday before a US magistrate judge and is being held pending a detention hearing next Wednesday, according to the Elmira Star Gazette newspaper.
CNN has reached out to both a lawyer representing Carlineo and a friend for comment.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of New York suggested that the rhetoric of Trump has “emboldened bigots” to act.
“The political environment, led by an Islamophobe in the White House, has normalized hate speech and emboldened bigots in their actions,” CAIR-NY executive director Afaf Nasher said in a statement Saturday. “The rising threat of Islamophobia and white supremacy must be taken seriously. We are thankful that law enforcement tracked this individual down before he could act on his hatred for Muslims.”
Trump, in his first two years in office, implemented a travel ban, blocking Syrian refugees and restricting foreign nationals from a handful of majority Muslim countries from entering the US. He also retweeted in 2017 three inflammatory videos from a British far-right account rife with anti-Muslim content.
Omar has drawn controversy for several of her comments since coming to Congress. After Omar said that support for Israel was motivated by donations from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, several House Democratic leaders called the comments anti-Semitic and offensive. She later apologized. She also drew criticism when she later said pro-Israel lobbyists pushed members of Congress to pledge “allegiance to a foreign country.”
Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, another Muslim woman in Congress, came to Omar’s defense last month after the comments, suggesting that Islamophobia played a part in the Democratic condemnations of Omar’s comments.