A man in New Hampshire will be detained after he was arrested on suspicion of sending death threats to several members of Congress and their aides in support of former President Donald Trump, according to the US Department of Justice.
Federal prosecutors allege that Ryder Winegar, 33, called six members of Congress on December 16 and 17, 2020, and urged them to flip the election or he would kill them, according to a federal complaint and affidavit filed by Special Agent Sean Wilson of the US Capitol Police.
The voicemails were quickly sent to Capitol Police and transcribed. They were able to identify Winegar because he began several of his threatening messages with “this is Ryder Winegar,” also leaving his phone number, expecting a phone call in return. He also said in a voicemail that he is a US Navy veteran.
Winegar’s script changes from voicemail to voicemail with varied racial epithets, anti-Semitic insults, and homophobic slurs, but the contents of each are based on the untrue assertion that Trump won the 2020 election and if members of Congress did not stop then-President-elect Biden from becoming president, that he and others would murder them.
“Do the right thing or patriots are going to come,” Winegar said. “And we’re going to f—–g kill you all. You understand?”
The names of the members of Congress that Winegar called are redacted in the court filings, but one transcript suggests that he intended to leave threats to former Republican Sen. Martha McSally, but was surprised when the answering machine said he was calling the office of Sen. Mark Kelly. Kelly defeated McSally in the 2020 election and was sworn in on December 2, 2020.
“Well, I’m actually trying to contact Martha, not, not Mark or whatever the f–k your answering machine said, but anyway, it’s regardless, regardless, uh, you f—–g, you know, just graduated from college, know-nothing piece of s–t,” Winegar said. “You need to send this voicemail or tally it up to the senators or whatever gay s–t you do.”
Following his loss in the 2020 presidential election, Trump and his allies spread countless unfounded claims of election fraud and attempted to overturn the election through lawsuits in several swing states. Over 60 cases were filed across the US, but none of the lawsuits were successful in flipping the results of a single state, nor did they find any widespread evidence of fraud.
Trump’s rhetoric peaked on January 6, when he headlined a “Stop the Steal” rally outside of the US Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from lawfully certifying Biden from becoming president.
“We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We’re not going to take it anymore.”
Soon after, the Capitol was breached by violent rioters, which led to the deaths of five people, including a police officer. Over 230 arrests have been made since the attempted coup. The FBI is currently seeking help and information to locate other insurrectionists.