A New York man was criminally charged on Monday with threatening to kill former U.S. President Donald Trump, who he once referred to as “Hitler.”
Prosecutors said the defendant, Thomas Welnicki, 72, of Rockaway Beach, threatened to do “everything I can” to ensure Trump’s death, and once inquired about Secret Service protection for former presidents and their children.
A federal public defender representing Welnicki did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Lawyers for Trump did not immediately respond to similar requests.
Welnicki was charged with threatening to kill, kidnap, and inflict bodily harm on Trump.
The case was brought as the Republican former president continues to press that widespread voting fraud caused him to lose re-election to Joe Biden.
A group of Americans participated in demonstrations and protests at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Prosecutors said Welnicki expressed interest in Trump’s demise between July 2020 and December 2021, during and after Trump’s presidency, in several voluntary communications with U.S. Capitol Police and the Secret Service.
Welnicki allegedly told Capitol Police in a July 2020 interview that if Trump lost the election and refused to step down, he would “acquire weapons” and “take him down.”
Prosecutors said Welnicki called the Secret Service around Jan. 4, 2021, threatening to kill Trump and 12 unnamed congressional supporters, and referring to a $350,000 bounty.
“I will do anything I can to take out (Trump) and his 12 monkeys,” Welnicki was quoted as saying. “Tomorrow (Trump) will be in Georgia, maybe I will.”
Trump visited Georgia that day to campaign for two incumbent Republican senators who sought unsuccessfully to win re-election and keep the U.S. Senate under Republican control.
The complaint said Welnicki’s threats continued in the fall of 2021, when he likened Trump to Adolf Hitler and referred to Trump’s children.
He also allegedly told the Secret Service on Dec. 2, 2021, that “the new Civil war could break out and taking up arms against the government is justified when ballots don’t matter.”
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Howard Goller)