The male caller’s language is filthy. His threats specifically discuss “blowing your (expletive) head off from a mile away” and in one call he does say, “I’m coming after your family, Gaetz.”

Matt Gaetz is no stranger to being threatened with violence.

Florida’s First District congressman said his office began noticing an uptick in the number of hateful messages received about a year into his first term of office as he rose in prominence as a Fox News favorite.

 

But the calls that came in two-and-a-half weeks ago, three calls on consecutive days, were different, more insidious than the others.

“We regularly receive threats, people saying they wish I would die or they wish I was dead or they wish I would be harmed,” said Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach. “These threats are unique in that they are very specific about how the individual intends to kill me, and a specific threat to my family. ... That was unique to this occurrence.”

The male caller’s language is filthy. His threats specifically discuss “blowing your (expletive) head off from a mile away” and in one call he does say, “I’m coming after your family, Gaetz.”

His laugh is just plain creepy. The man clearly seems an antagonist enjoying his work.

But according to the FBI, the man is not a threat, Gaetz said. And although the caller has been identified and even interviewed, there is no inclination on the part of federal authorities to prosecute him.

“We did what our office policy calls for” when the calls came in, Gaetz said. “We reported the information to the Capital Police and they reported the information to the FBI. The FBI talked to this person and deemed the circumstances to be a non-threat. The U.S. Attorney for that area notified our office that as a consequence of that determination they viewed the individual as a non-threat.”

 

The calls from the Californian, who Gaetz declined to identify, have ceased since the FBI contacted him. But that does not give the congressman a great deal of comfort.

He cited a federal statute that makes it a crime to threaten a federal official or that official’s family.

“It’s hard to understand how the U.S. Attorney in California and the FBI would not deem these recordings threats,” Gaetz said. “He committed a crime and he’s not going to be prosecuted for it by the U.S. Attorney in his area. That strikes me as really problematic.”

The threats, Gaetz said, have come in close proximity to the congressional August district work period, a time he has used in the past to hold frequent public hearings and Open Gaetz days.

“My staff is really having to evaluate how we continue on our Open Gaetz promise while at the same time not create conditions that are unsafe,” he said. “As folks in Northwest Florida know, I think representation requires a lot of interaction with individuals. That’s always the way I served, and it is a challenge to me in that regard.”

He said he has held a television town hall meeting and is planning another using a radio format.

Gaetz said the threats received have not slowed his Fox News appearances and he has not given consideration based on his encounter with the caller from California to leaving office.

“If I do that, the terrorists win,” he said. “As long as I represent the district, I have an obligation to my constituents to elevate their views.

“It is my current plan to seek re-election.”