Wilburn, the first Black chair of the Iowa Democratic Party and also a state representative from Ames, wrote an op-ed published October 8, ahead of Trump’s rally in the state, with the headline: “Iowa Republicans put loyalty to Trump over helping Iowans.”
He said that after the op-ed’s publication, he received two threatening voicemails and a threatening email to his legislative address.
In a video call with reporters Tuesday, Wilburn said he would seek charges against those responsible for the messages if police identify them.
He said one voicemail contained a reference to lynching, and that a second message and an email contained more hateful language.
He said receiving threatening, racist messages made him “angry, frustrated,” but that “unfortunately, these types of threats are not uncommon.”
“The voicemails include very explicit language. Every other word was the ‘n-word,'” he told the Des Moines Register. Ames’ Police Commander told the Register that they are investigating the threats.
Leading Iowa Republicans, including Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sen. Chuck Grassley, condemned the messages targeting Wilburn in social media posts Tuesday.
“This type of hate must never be tolerated. Whoever is responsible should be held accountable. Racism of any kind is unacceptable and not who we are as Iowans,” said Reynolds, the governor.
Grassley, who was endorsed for reelection next year by Trump at the October 9 rally, said: “Racism & threats of violence are never acceptable. the threat against Iowa Dem party chair Wilburn is being investigated & those responsible should b held accountable We ought to b able to hv civil/respectful political discussions in this country w our neighbors.”