In his letter, George Buck, who’s running to unseat Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist in 2020, said “we should hang these traitors,” apparently referring to Omar and Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.).
The congresswomen make up three out of the four members of “the Squad,” a progressive group of first-term lawmakers of color. Omar, a Black Muslim who fled war-torn Somalia with her family as a child, has been the subject of numerous death threats since taking office in January.
Buck’s fundraising email also reportedly targets Crist and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Asked for a comment, Buck initially told the Times that the letter was written by his campaign manager, whom he refused to name. He later sent the newspaper a statement in which he appeared to stand by the letter and noted the constitutional definition of treason as well as the crime’s potential punishment: death.
“Anyone who commits treason against the United States should be tried to the full extent of the law,” Buck wrote to the Times.
He did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Buck, who describes himself as a “Conservative, America-First Republican” on his campaign website, drew bipartisan backlash over the letter.
The National Republican Congressional Committee said Wednesday that it would remove Buck from its “Young Guns” program, which works with candidates to run successful campaigns against their Democratic opponents, reported Politico.
Buck has not publicly commented on the NRCC’s reaction. A Facebook page for Buck’s campaign shared several news stories about Omar on Wednesday.
“How come no one is calling out Omar for her rhetoric?” the campaign wrote in one of the posts.
Buck’s profile on the “Young Guns” website described him as a “proud father of two, Military Veteran, Retired Firefighter” and author of books on counter-terrorism and emergency management. The page was removed by late Wednesday morning.
“There’s no place for inciting violence in politics,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana told C-SPAN. “Instead of doubling down on these disgraceful comments, the candidate ought to apologize unequivocally & denounce these unacceptable statements.”
Tlaib on Wednesday called on more of her colleagues to speak out against Buck’s comments.
“The fact that those who make these violent threats very publicly without hesitation reaffirms just how much white supremacy has spread within the [National Republican Congressional Committee],” she tweeted.
In his letter, Buck reportedly referenced an unsubstantiated report The Jerusalem Post which accused Omar of being a Qatari operative and passing along sensitive information to Iran. Omar has denied the report and no U.S. news outlet has confirmed the story.
Last week, Twitter permanently suspended the account of Daniella Stella, one of Omar’s Republican challengers in 2020, after she suggested the congresswoman should be tried for treason and hanged if the report was true.