Tim Scott often speaks about being a target of racism.
Last week, the South Carolina lawmaker and the Senate’s only black Republican was also the subject of death threats.
Federal authorities have arrested a Georgia man identified as Jason Kenneth Bell, who allegedly called Scott’s Washington office nearly a dozen times the week of Oct. 23, threatening to kill him.
According to an official filing with the U.S. District Court for the middle district of Georgia, Bell called to express his disapproval with Scott’s recent condemnation of President Donald Trump’s statements after the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August.
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At the time, Scott suggested Trump’s “moral authority” had been “complicated” by his insistence that the Neo-Nazis and counter-protestors were both to blame for the violence that ensued, culminating in a meeting at the White House to discuss race relations in the United States.
“Saying that Neo-Nazi and white people are the problem,” Bell allegedly told a staffer over the phone while employing several expletives. “I am going to kill (him).”
The court filing specifies that Bell has long been a person of interest both for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Capitol Police. He has a history of making threatening phones calls to lawmakers, allegedly telling Capitol law enforcement that he has been contacting members of Congress for six years regarding “untruths of black victimization,” with no plans to stop.
He also has claimed to idolize Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who murdered nine black parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015.
There is some indication of mental instability. According to the court filing, Bell allegedly threatened to kill himself in the past, and was once monitored for a domestic disturbance in the home where he lives with his mother.
Bell was arrested earlier this year for allegedly threatening a CNN News office in Atlanta.
Scott’s office had little to say about the incident on Wednesday.
“The Senator greatly appreciates the efforts of the Capitol Police and the FBI to keep folks safe every day. Any questions regarding this matter should be directed to the FBI,” his spokesman, Sean Smith, said in a statement.
In the past, Scott has not been shy about speaking out against his detractors.
Earlier this year, he stood on the Senate floor and recited a series of inflammatory tweets he’d received for supporting Jeff Sessions to serve as attorney general, who opponents said had a history of discriminatory practices that disqualified him from leading the Justice Department.
In that instance, Scott read aloud the Twitter handles of those who called him an “Uncle Tom” and the “N word.”
And in a series of Senate floor speeches the summer of 2016, Scott recalled being the subject of racial profiling as an elected official – even by members of the Capitol Police who didn’t recognize him as a member of Congress.