Congress

New York man faces trial for threat against Rep. Maxine Waters

Date of threatening call to her district office coincides with heightened criticism of Waters among the far-right

A central New York man is accused of calling the district office of California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters and making racist and threatening remarks last summer. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A man is expected to go to trial this week for calling the district office of Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and making racist and violent threats, according to local reports and court documents. 

In July 2018, Stephen Taubert, who lives in central New York, allegedly threatened to kill Waters using offensive language and racial slurs, including the n-word, Syracuse.com reported.

He is also accused of calling the office of then-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, the year before and threatening to kill then-President Barack Obama.

Taubert faces three federal charges: threatening retaliation against a federal official, making a threat in interstate communication and threatening a former president, according to a January indictment. 

Taubert denies making threats. He declined to comment through his attorney.

In an interview with local officers and an agent for U.S. Capitol Police in August, Taubert described the purpose of his call: to tell Waters she was a “low-IQ n----r,” according to the news site.

The threat allegedly made last summer coincides with a period of heightened criticism of Waters among conservatives and the far-right. Some supporters of President Donald Trump opposed Waters’ call for activists upset about the White House’s child separation policy at the border to confront administration officials in public places.

The date that Taubert called the congresswoman’s local office — July 20, 2018 — falls one day after a planned protest there by the Oath Keepers.

The Oath Keepers, a far-right, anti-government militia group founded weeks after Obama’s election to the White House, ultimately canceled the demonstration. 

Waters called for caution by her supporters ahead of the planned protest, citing what she described as the group's “history of engaging in violent and provocative behavior.”

“The Oath Keepers would like nothing more than to inflame racial tensions and create an explosive conflict in our community,” Waters wrote in a Facebook post.

Taubert also faces charges stemming from multiple calls made in June 2017 to Franken’s office in which he allegedly used racial slurs while threatening to kill Obama.

In a subsequent investigation, Taubert told the New York police he was upset about comedian Kathy Griffin’s photo posing with a prop head of Trump, Syracuse.com reported.

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