MASSAPEQUA PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police are on alert around the home and district offices of a Long Island congressman.
Andrew Garbarino replaced Peter King last year as U.S. representative, and now, Garbarino is the focus of vitriol and backlash after the Republican voted in favor of the nation’s infrastructure bill.READ MORE: New York City Announces First-In-The-Nation Vaccine Mandate For Private Companies
Massapequa Park residents are abuzz over the stepped-up patrols outside Garbarino’s offices.
“We have received death threats. A specific person called the office and said they were going to kill me. We’ve also had people visiting the office, making scenes, banging on doors,” Garbarino said.
Police arrested a retired Long Island Rail Road employee from Lake Ronkonoma, 64-year-old Kenneth Gasper, charging him with aggravated harassment.
He did not answer when CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan knocked on his door. A Trump 2024 flag was waving from his tree.
“He used some profanity and then he made a threat, and it went like this — ‘If I see that mother-effer in the street, I’m going to kill him,'” Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.
He said it’s all linked to the infrastructure bill. House Republicans who voted for it are facing vicious backlash.
Former president Donald Trump lambasted them as “RINOs,” Republicans in name only, and said they should be ashamed of themselves.READ MORE: New York City's New Vaccine Mandate Also Impacts Kids 5-11
Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis received angry insulting calls into her D.C. office labeling her as a traitor.
Rep. Fred Upton, of Michigan, also received a death threat saying, “I hope your f****** family dies. I hope everybody in your f****** staff dies, you f****** piece of f****** s***. Traitor.”
“They are supposed to be together. We are doing something for one nation,” Massapequa Park homeowner Michelle Rodricks said.
Garbarino told WCBS Newsradio 880, “What’s frustrating is the anger, it’s coming from the misinformation that’s out there on this bill. When people say, ‘Oh, you gave the Democrats a win,’ I say, ‘No, I gave my district a win.'”
The congressman released the following statement:
“Unfortunately, there’s been so much misinformation circulating and it’s causing a lot of anger and confusion, but the truth is that the Infrastructure Bill is not the Reconciliation Bill. It’s about paving roads, repairing bridges, and bringing jobs to Long Island. I’d like to thank the Nassau County Police Department as well as Capitol Police for working diligently to address this threat to me and my staff. I will continue to assist law enforcement in any way that I can with this ongoing investigation.”
Many of the 13 Republicans who supported the infrastructure bill hail from crucial swing districts that the party must hold onto if it wants to reclaim the House in next year’s midterm elections.
Meanwhile, Gasper’s attorney released the following statement:
“Ken is an ordinary American who was offended when politician Garbarino became an overnight Democrat and voted, in Ken’s view, to wreck our country. He conveyed his chagrin to an unseasoned telephone aide in Mr. Garbarino’s office. Ken never made any threat. He will plead that he is innocent. I’ll do my usual work, and true justice will resolve this matter for this grandfather with a spotless record. Mr. Garbarino can rest at ease.”
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Gasper was released on his own recognizance until his court date in two weeks. He has no prior arrests and was not in possession of any weapons. He was ordered to get a mental health exam.