Almost immediately after news of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, some verified Twitter users threatened arson and apparent violence in order to block Republicans from replacing her before the elections.
“If they even TRY to replace RBG we burn the entire f—–g thing down,” author Reza Aslan tweeted. He later responded to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s vow to hold a vote on President Trump’s nominee. “Over our dead bodies, literally,” he tweeted.
Author Aaron Gouveia similarly blasted McConnell’s statement, saying: “F–k no. Burn it all down.”
A Canadian political science professor called for arson, prompting accusations he made a terroristic threat. “Burn Congress down before letting Trump try to appoint anyone to SCOTUS,” Waterloo professor Emmett MacFarlane tweeted.
In response, Canadian attorney Ezra Levant worried about the consequences for MacFarlane’s students.
“Macfarlane is a professor at @UWaterloo, promoting violence against his political enemies,” he said. “If you were a young woman in his class who was a Trump supporter, would you risk being a target of his violent rage if he found out about you? Should you transfer to a different class?”
Ginsburg’s death came just weeks before the presidential election and opened the opportunity for Republicans to dramatically shift power on the Supreme Court by confirming another conservative justice. Democrats have long criticized McConnell, R-Ky., of hypocrisy given his previous refusal to hold a vote on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland before the 2016 elections.
McConnell has maintained, however, that Garland’s confirmation was unique in that the Senate and executive branch were controlled by different parties. That isn’t the case in the wake of Ginsburg’s death.
The incredibly high stakes prompted what appeared to be panicked reactions from many on Twitter. Writer Beau Willimon threatened: “We’re shutting this country down if Trump and McConnell try to ram through an appointment before the election.”
A member of Wisconsin’s ethics commission, Scott Ross, ordered Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., to “burn it all down” if he couldn’t stop McConnell. “F—–g A, Ed. If you can’t shut it down, burn it down,” he said.
Other tweets didn’t contain violent threats but indicated opponents wouldn’t take Ginsburg’s replacement lying down.
“If McConnell jams someone through, which he will, there will be riots,” warned GQ writer Laura Bassett.
Fox News host Greg Gutfeld responded to the controversy by criticizing anyone who might mock people for worrying about political terrorism.
“[L]eftists promise violence and ‘burning it all down'” if they don’t get what they want. Then their enablers in media mock you for worrying that there might be violence and ‘burning it all down’ when the leftists don’t get what they want,” Gutfeld said.