Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, his wife, Tricia, and their family received threats of violence months after the election that former President Donald Trump falsely claims was riddled with fraud, Tricia Raffensperger told Reuters in an exclusive interview.
Tricia Raffensperger, whose husband became persona non grata within his state GOP for stating that President Joe Biden won Georgia in November, told Reuters about the intimidation and shared threatening text messages sent to her in April.
“You and your family will be killed very slowly,” read one anonymous text Tricia Raffensperger told Reuters was sent on April 24.
CNN does not have access to the texts and cannot independently confirm their veracity.
“We plan for the death of you and your family every day,” read another text message Tricia Raffensperger told Reuters she had received earlier that month.
Another warned that a family member was “going to have a very unfortunate incident,” Reuters reported.
CNN has sought comment from Tricia Raffensperger but has not gotten a response. Her husband, Brad Raffensperger, told CNN’s “Erin Burnett Out Front” Friday the threats are unacceptable.
“This is not acceptable behavior to threaten the wives, the children, the family of people that work for the government or even the government workers,” he said. “They didn’t sign up for this.”
Tricia Raffensperger told Reuters that the threats and intimidation had forced her family into hiding for almost a week in late November. Intruders had broken into a family member’s house around that time, and the same night, members of the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers were found outside the Raffenspergers’ home.
“It seemed apparent to us that they were basically casing our house, seeing what kind of security measures we had. And so we just decided that we’d take an early Thanksgiving vacation and that’s what we did,” Brad Raffensperger told CNN.
Trump had been pushing claims of fraud – without any evidence – in Georgia. State Republican officials rebuffed his calls to overturn the election results more than a week after they certified Joe Biden as the winner. Biden won the state by more than 12,000 votes.
Tricia Raffensperger told Reuters reporter Linda So that she’d had to cancel weekly visits from their two young grandchildren, whose father, Brenton, had died from a drug overdose in 2018.
“I couldn’t have them come to my house anymore,” she said of the children of her eldest son, according to Reuters. “You don’t know if these people are actually going to act on this stuff.”
Brad Raffensperger said he didn’t want his grandchildren exposed to anyone who might come and scream and holler at him, or worse.
“Just kind of think about the emotional scars that would – could happen to them, but also what if they’re actually in physical danger? So that’s why we took a several-month break of having the grandchildren over there until things started calming down a little bit,” he told CNN Friday.
In December, as Trump hurled fiery insults at him, Brad Raffensperger told CNN that he and his wife had received death threats.
“Tricia got the first ones,” he said of the threats. “For some reason they targeted her. I think the first one was ‘tell Brad to step down,’ you know, and that type of thing. But then they’ve just really, you know, ramped up, and then went to stage two, and they just got vulgar and rude.”
He added, “Then I got stuff, you know insulting me. And also, you know … threats in it. So that’s what we’ve been, you know, dealing with – unsettling, angering.”
CNN also earlier reported that Gabriel Sterling, the voting systems implementation manager for the Georgia secretary of state’s office, in December condemned threats of physical violence and intimidation against election workers and officials. He pleaded with Trump to denounce the threats and urged both of the state’s Republican senators to intervene.
“It’s all gone too far,” Sterling told reporters.
Sterling, who’s also a Republican, described an incident in which a video of a Dominion Voting Machines contractor in Gwinnett County was spread online with claims of vote manipulation. The contractor later was accused of treason and found a noose outside his house. His family members also have received death threats, according to Sterling.
“You need to step up and say this … stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence,” Sterling said, addressing Trump. “Someone’s going to get hurt. Someone’s going to get shot. Someone’s going to get killed, and it’s not right.”
A prosecutor in Fulton County, Georgia, has opened a criminal investigation into Trump over his “attempts to influence the administration of the 2020 Georgia general election.”
In a letter sent in March to numerous Georgia state election officials, including Brad Raffensperger, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis requested they preserve documents related to a Trump phone call urging Raffensperger to “find” votes to reverse his election loss.
Still, Trump seems undeterred.
In a speech to North Carolina Republicans at their annual state convention on Saturday, the former President claimed his defeat last November was “the crime of the century” and likened the 2020 presidential contest to a “third-world” election.
“Remember,” Trump told the crowd after repeating numerous falsehoods about widespread electoral fraud, “I am not the one who is trying to undermine American democracy, I am the one who is trying to save it.”