An Indian American history scholar has said that she received death threat and abusive messages after she published an article criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump in a mainstream publication.
Manisha Sinha, the Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut, had compared Trump to former U.S. president Andrew Johnson in her piece published by CNN on July 27.
The article, titled “What happened the last time a President chose America’s enemies over its friends,” dwells on the similarity between both the presidents and explores the nature of such political vendettas where leaders blatantly use the race card in an attempt to restore white supremacy.
“What they have in common are delusions of personal grandeur and a tainted ascent to the presidency. Trump was elected by a minority of the American electorate, with help from the vagaries of the electoral college system and from considerable Russian interference,” the article said.
“Johnson took his case to the people, Trump style, during the 1866 midterm elections. He played the race card, arguing that giving African-American rights would weaken whites’ rights. He called his political opponents traitors, even leading members of his own party,” Sinha wrote in the opinion piece.
Andrew Johnson was the American Vice President and became the U.S. president on April 15, 1865, after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
After the article was published, Sinha started getting trolled on her social media account. She also received several intimidating phone calls, including one death threat. The person, who had the address and phone number of Sinha, threatened to kill her, she tweeted, asking her followers to inform the university officials.
The anonymous caller, who was later identified as a resident of Texas, “freaked” her out a little bit, Sinha later told The Day in an interview. She called 911, and police in the Massachusetts town where she lives, and received prompt response.
Matthew Erickson, 39, of Porter, Texas, has been charged in the county court with threatening to commit a crime and making harassing phone calls, the report added.
The incident is a proof of the growing incivility that people are using boldly, a “coarseness that seems to come from the top,” the author of the book, The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition, said in the interview.
Sinha, who moved to the United States in 1884 as a student, said that the incident will not stop her from speaking out. “He was trying to scare me into silence, and I won’t let him. That’s how you foster authoritarianism,” she said.