Twitter has shut down the accounts of Danielle Stella, a Republican challenger to Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., in Omar’s bid for reelection, after Stella twice tweeted about hanging the congresswoman.
The campaign account for Stella, a candidate in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, posted Tuesday that “If it is proven @IlhanMN passed sensitive info to Iran, she should be tried for #treason and hanged.” The account later tweeted a link to a blog post about her comment and added an image of a stick-figure being hanged.
Stella’s remark about Omar’s supposedly giving information to Iran is a reference to the baseless allegation that Qatari officials recruited the congresswoman to give intelligence to Qatar and Iran. No evidence has been offered to support that claim.
Twitter spokeswoman Aly Pavela said Stella’s campaign and personal accounts were permanently closed for “repeated violations of the Twitter rules.” Pavela did not respond to a question about whether Stella’s tweets about hanging Omar factored into the company’s decision.
The Washington Post was not able to review any of Stella’s tweets on her campaign account, @2020MNCongress, after it was suspended. But other users posted images of the tweets, and Stella wrote on Facebook that her Twitter account had been suspended for the original tweet about hanging.
The suspensions come as Twitter and other social media platforms fight back against criticism that they have been too lackadaisical in policing themselves for hate speech, violence, extremism and abuse on their platforms. Twitter announced in June that it would begin labeling tweets from national political figures that break the platform’s rules but which the social media company deems to be in the public interest.
Stella’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Stella told The Washington Times, which first reported on the incident, that her suspension “for advocating for the enforcement of federal code proves Twitter will always side with and fight to protect terrorists, traitors, pedophiles and rapists.”
Stella’s campaign website describes her as a special-education professional and a strong supporter of the Constitution and President Donald Trump. She wrote that she was driven to run for Congress “as a result of the lack of honorable representation for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District.” Several other Republicans are also running.
Omar tweeted Friday that Stella’s comments about hanging were “the natural result of a political environment where anti-Muslim dogwhistles and dehumanization are normalized by an entire political party and its media outlets. Violent rhetoric inevitably leads to violent threats, and ultimately, violent acts.”
Omar was elected to Congress last year, becoming the first Somali American member of the legislative body and the first to wear a hijab. Since then, she has been subjected to debunked propaganda, death threats and Trump’s vitriol. Omar, who came to the United States from Somalia as a refugee, is among the president’s most vocal critics.