It’s hard to run a campaign without Twitter, but that’s just what Danielle Stella is going to have to do. The Republican candidate hoping to challenge Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was suspended from the social media platform after threatening the Congresswoman.
On Tuesday (November 26), Stella’s campaign account @2020MNCongress tweeted: “If it is proven @IlhanMN passed sensitive info to Iran, she should be tried for #treason and hanged,” according to The Washington Times, who first broke the news of the suspension. The Times reported that she later added a photo of a stick figure being hanged. She also linked to a false conspiracy theory peddled by far-right websites that claims Omar gave sensitive information to Iran as an alleged "Qatari asset," according to the New York Times. Omar told the Jerusalem Post that these baseless allegations are “outlandishly absurd.” There has never been any substantial proof supporting the allegations.
While Twitter hasn’t said which tweets specifically led them to suspend both Stella’s campaign account and her personal account, they said in a statement on Saturday (November 30) that the account was suspended for “repeated violations” of the platform’s rules, according to the New York Times.
Stella’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from MTV News, but the apparent QAnon conspiracy theorist told the Washington Times that her suspension “for advocating for the enforcement of federal code proves Twitter will always side with and fight to protect terrorists, traitors, pedophiles and rapists.”
In a Facebook post, Stella claimed that her post was misinterpreted. “I did not threaten anyone,” she posted. “I believe that those convicted of treason, regardless of party affiliation, race, religion, preferred gender pronoun, should receive the maximum sentence afforded by law; which for treason, is punishable by death.” Facebook also removed a post by Stella that showed the same stick figure and perpetuated the conspiracy theory, according to Alex Kaplan, a researcher for Media Matters for America. As of publish time, Facebook has not disabled Stella's account.
Death threats aren’t new to Omar, who, became the first Somali American congressperson and the first congressperson to wear a hijab in 2018. Since being elected, she has become one of the president’s most vocal critics. In April, she reported that the number of death threats directed at her had risen considerably; that the uptick happened after President Donald Trump tweeted a video of her that distorted comments she had made.
Omar tweeted on Friday that Stella’s comments were “the natural result of a political environment where anti-Muslim dogwhistles and dehumanization are normalized by an entire political party and its media outlets. Violent rhetoric inevitably leads to violent threats, and ultimately, violent acts.”