Long Island Man Charged For Threat Against Republican Who Voted For Infrastructure Bill

UNITED STATES - JULY 30: Rep. Andrew Garbarino, R-N.Y., speaks with Roll Call on the House steps at the Capitol on Friday, July 30, 2021. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
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November 12, 2021 10:28 a.m.

A Long Island man was arrested for threatening the life of a Republican congressman who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure spending bill, just the latest in an emerging pattern of threats aimed at Republicans who’ve worked with Democrats. 

Kenneth Gasper allegedly called in a death threat directed at Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) “for a recent congressional vote that Defendant Gasper did not agree with,” Nassau police said, according to Newsday.

Gasper faces a second-degree charge of aggravated harassment and was arraigned Thursday, according to court records. He was released on recognizance with a temporary restraining order. He’s due back in court on Nov. 24. He had no attorney information on file Friday. 

Police didn’t get more specific about the nature of the threat, but Garbarino was one of 13 House Republicans to break ranks and vote for the bipartisan infrastructure spending bill, a package of physical infrastructure spending money that has been passed by both houses of Congress and is expected to be signed into law by President Joe Biden on Monday.

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A spokesperson for the congressman told News 12 that there have been numerous recent instances of harassment, both over the phone and in person at the congressman’s offices.

Garbarino is just the latest Republican targeted for their vote. Soon after the infrastructure package passed the House, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) called the Republicans who voted for it “traitors” and posted their phone numbers on social media.

On Monday, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who also voted for the infrastructure package, played a threatening voicemail he’d received on CNN

“I hope you die. I hope everybody in your f**king family dies,” the voicemailer told the congressman.  

“It’s amazing people want to kill me over paving roads and clean water,” Garbarino told BuzzFeed News. “The misinformation out there about this bill is so bad that I’m getting death threats.”

Punchbowl News reported earlier this week that members of Republican Party leadership were bracing for a rank-and-file effort to strip committee assignments from Republicans who voted for the infrastructure package. 

The alleged criminal incident in New York took place on Monday, according to Gasper’s online court record, and Gasper was arrested on Wednesday. 

On Thursday morning, Garbarino told the New York Post that police were more concerned about the recent threats he’s faced than others he’s gotten in the past. 

“There are members of Congress that are fundraising off of their misinformation and attacking us, and it’s causing us to get death threats on the other side,” he said.

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