Retiring Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) on Sunday warned that death threats could be a “detriment getting good people to run” for Congress, drawing from his personal experiences of receiving threats following his vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill last year.
Appearing on MSNBC, Upton pointed out that the bipartisan infrastructure bill (BIF) was at one point a Republican bill when discussing his experience of receiving death threats last year. Upton broke ranks alongside 12 other Republicans to help pass BIF last year.
“(Death threats) never were like we had this last year, but it was pretty crazy. And remember, that was a Republican bill,” Upton said. “I mean, literally, a year ago this week, (Maryland GOP) Governor Hogan brought a bunch of us up to his place in Annapolis, Republicans, Democrats, senators, governors, House members, both sides of the aisle. We defined what infrastructure ought to be, and we decided how to pay for it, and it passed 69-30 in the Senate.”
Upton pointed out that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was among the 19 GOP senators who voted for BIF.
Upton then anticipated that people would be hesitant to run for Congress due to the risk of death threats.
“It’s going to be a detriment getting good people to run, it really will be,” Upton said. “Because I’ve got a school board member that lives on my street, I think he got death threats too, just over the mask mandate.”
Upton stressed how “frightening” it was to receive death threats.
“It puts you at risk — particularly when they threaten not only you, and I like to think I’m pretty fast — but when they threaten your spouse, or your kids, or whatever,” Upton said. “That’s what really makes it frightening.”
Upton, one of the 10 House GOP members who voted to impeach former President Trump over the Jan. 6 insurrection, announced his retirement earlier this month. Upton joined Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) and John Katko (R-NY) in departing the chamber after their impeachment votes.
Upton’s retirement announcement came months after he revealed that he received a threatening voicemail days after he helped pass BIF.
During an interview with Upton in November, CNN aired the threatening voicemail the GOP congressman received, in which a caller told Upton that he is a “f*king piece of sh*t traitor.”
“I hope you die. I hope everybody in your f**king family dies,” the caller is heard saying in the voicemail.
Upton said that he began receiving threats after one of his colleagues — appearing to allude to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) — tweeted the phone numbers of the 13 House Republicans who voted for BIF.
Upton had previously lamented the “political football” that ensued over BIF as the majority of House Republicans voted against it, despite claiming that they’re supportive of infrastructure legislation in the abstract.
Some House Republicans knocked their 13 colleagues who voted for BIF by painting the legislation as a “pathway to socialism” after Democrats scored a legislative victory that Trump couldn’t seem to get off the ground during his four years in office.
Watch Upton’s remarks below: