GOP Tweet Saying to Shoot US Agents Brings Twitter Ban

Republican in Florida statehouse race suggests threat was taken out of context, though he stands by it
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2022 12:35 PM CDT
Twitter Hits Candidate With Suspension Over Call to Shoot US Agents
An armed Secret Service agent stands outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 8.   (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

US officials, including the FBI director, have decried an increase in threats to federal agents. There have been attempts to carry out such threats, as well. Another one was posted Thursday on Twitter, saying: "Under my plan, all Floridians will be able to shoot FBI, IRS, ATF, and all other federal troops on sight. Let freedom ring." It was written not by a shadowy, unnamed poster trying to cover his tracks, but by a Republican candidate for a seat in the Florida legislature, per Florida Politics. Luis Miguel's account has been permanently suspended, a spokesman for Twitter said, for violating the platform's policy on hateful conduct.

"I am in no way advocating any kind of vigilante, extra-judicial, illegal, or other form of violence against federal officers," Miguel told NBC News. Miguel said his tweet was referring to proposed legislation that would bar federal agencies from operating in Florida without state permission. But he stood by his statement, arguing that the IRS has been "weaponized by dissident forces." Miguel had put the same sentiment on Instagram, which he said deleted that post Friday. A Meta spokesperson said Miguel's Instagram and Facebook accounts have been removed without elaborating.

Miguel, of St. Augustine, is on the primary ballot Tuesday along with GOP Rep. Bobby Payne of Palatka for a reworked House district. It's an open primary in a Republican area, allowing voters of any party or no party to cast ballots. Miguel has raised about $4,000 for his campaign, Payne about $140,000. The Florida Democratic Party issued a statement denouncing Miguel's tweet and calling on Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to do the same. Payne, who's seeking his fourth term, said candidates without a political resume often make extreme statements for attention, hoping to split the party during the primary campaign. (More threats stories.)

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