Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows (D) was swatted Friday night according to police and Bellows, who was not home at the time. The swatting came a day after Bellows removed Trump from the March 5 Maine Republican presidential primary election over bogus 14th Amendment ‘insurrection’ allegations related to the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.
Over a dozen Republican and conservative activists have been targeted with swattings over the Christmas holiday season with false calls made to police, usually claiming heinous crimes in progress with the goal of provoking a deadly police response at the the home of the target. Bellows is one of the few Democrats swatted this past week, with Boston Mayor Michelle Wu (D) and a former Democrat Nebraska state senator also swatted.
A phone call was made Friday night from Bellows’ home to police with the caller stating he had just broken into Bellows’ home. Police found no one there and no sign of a burglary, according to a statement reported by News Center Maine WCSH-TV (excerpt):
The Augusta Regional Communication Center received a call at approximately 8:15 p.m. from an unknown male advising he had broken into a home in the Augusta area, which police identified as the home of Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Shannon Moss said in a news release on Saturday.
Maine State Police reportedly responded to the call and conducted an investigation of the exterior and interior of the home at Bellows’ request. Moss said nothing suspicious was found.
Bellows was not at her home at the time of the call, and no one was inside the home, Moss said. The incident is still under investigation, and Moss said no further information will be released at this time.
“The Maine State Police is working with our law enforcement partners to provide special attention to any and all appropriate locations,” according to Moss.
Bellows posted a statement on social media about the swatting.
Thank you for the messages of love and support. I’ve been moved by every one and especially by those from friends and loved ones who disagree with my decision but have reached out to express love and respect. Many of you have asked if Brandon and I are safe. We are away for the holiday weekend. We were not home yesterday when threats escalated, and our home address was posted online. It was a good thing because our home was swatted last night. That’s when someone calls in a fake emergency to evoke a strong law enforcement response to scare the target. Swatting incidents have resulted in casualties although thankfully this one did not.
This behavior is unacceptable. The non-stop threatening communications the people who work for me endured all day yesterday is unacceptable. It’s designed to scare not only me but also others into silence, to send a message. I am so grateful to have such an amazing team of employees at the Department of Secretary of State. Brandon and I are grateful for incredible, dedicated support from law enforcement in this time. They’ve been amazing.
I’ll be off social media this weekend, so I won’t see or be able to respond to your messages of love and support. But please keep sharing that love. And please encourage those whom you influence to de-escalate the rhetoric. The Maine Wire for example has been posting extraordinarily dehumanizing fake images of me. (Others have posted fake text threads attributed to me; remember that if it doesn’t sound like something I would say, it probably isn’t.)
I know from my previous work that dehumanizing a person is the first step in paving the way for attacks and violence against them. These dehumanizing images and threatening communications directed at me and people I love are dangerous. We should be able to agree to disagree on important issues without threats and violence. So my friends, please let’s channel love, respect and kindness and stand up for those Maine values that have always made our state the way life should be. I love you and am grateful for you.
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Bellows spoke to CBS News about her decision to bar Trump from the ballot (excerpt):
“In evaluating the weight of the evidence, it (was) made clear that Mr. Trump was aware of the tinder that was laid in a multi-month effort to delegitimize the 2020 election and (he) then chose to light a match,” said Bellows, a Democrat who took office in 2021.
“The U.S. Constitution does not tolerate an assault on the foundations of our government. And Maine election law required me to act in response,” she said. “The events of January 6 were unprecedented and tragic. It was an assault not only on the Capitol and government officials, including the former vice president and members of Congress, but on the rule of law itself. … Mr. Trump engaged in that insurrection and thereby, is not qualified to be on the ballot.”
…”I take the Constitution very seriously. I swear an oath to uphold it. I take the First Amendment very seriously,” Bellows said.
Trump has argued that he cannot be disqualified from the presidency over his conduct surrounding the 2020 election and events of Jan. 6 because his speech is protected by the First Amendment.
But Bellows rejected that argument, saying, “The law is very clear that the First Amendment doesn’t permit incitement of an insurrection.”
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley (himself swatted Friday night) slammed Bellows’ decision in an interview with Fox News:
Jonathan Turley: “It is really striking how Bellows cloaks herself as a defender of democracy in this statement when she is preventing voters from casting their vote for what is currently the leading candidate for the presidency. So it’s a very odd claim to make in my view.” pic.twitter.com/Q64dUzBQrL
— MAGA War Room (@MAGAIncWarRoom) December 29, 2023