Republicans continue to devolve to outrageous extremes in their widespread opposition to the stay-at-home orders instituted across the country in an attempt to stem the spread of the Coronavirus and protect public health. Now, local media outlet WDRB reports that Louisville, Kentucky-area attorney James Troutman has been arrested and charged with making terroristic threats on the life of Kentucky’s Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, who was elected last year, beating out Trump ally and then-incumbent Republican Matt Bevin, and has since presided over a government-mandated social distancing campaign in line with just about every other state in the country.
Troutman made his threats against Beshear on Facebook. He was pretty direct; although his legal team has ludicrously claimed that Troutman was just exercising free speech and didn’t actually intend to hurt Beshear, Troutman repeatedly lauded the idea of shooting and killing the governor.
Kentucky sees highest spike in coronavirus cases after extreme-right protests against state lockdown https://t.co/MVxwyoe0sJ
— Jon Cooper 🇺🇸 (@joncoopertweets) April 22, 2020
On April 16, local police were notified about a statement Troutman had made on Facebook that read:
‘Maybe some should ask Beshear in a press conference about his thoughts on William Goebel. For those of you who don’t know the history…it’s a good read…’
William Goebel is a former governor of Kentucky who was assassinated.
Just days later, on April 20, Kentucky State Police say that they were notified of another, similarly threatening message that Troutman had posted on Facebook. He wrote:
‘With any luck the Gov will be the one at whom the shooting will be directed.’
How much more directly threatening can you get? Troutman made all these statements under an account named “Greg Troutman,” but police traced the account to James Troutman, and he admitted to the statements — proudly. When questioned, Troutman
“allegedly admitted to making the statement on Facebook, and proceeded to give a detailed description of the history of Goebel and his assassination,” as if the whole ordeal is some kind of game to him.
Well now, following his arrest and charge, it’s even less easy to take the situation so glibly. Troutman faced a $5,000 cash bond — which he paid — and subsequent home confinement with concurrent demands that he keeps off the internet and has no contact of any form with the governor.
Troutman’s attorney Steve Romines offered a melodramatic defense for his client, insisting:
‘The bottom line is what he said was not helpful and ridiculous. What’s more unhelpful and ridiculous is saying it’s a crime and arresting him for it. To put him in jail over a Facebook post that doesn’t meet the definition of terroristic threatening is absurd. He didn’t say he was going to kill him. We like to pretend the First Amendment means something, but it only does if it’s something you agree with.’
Again, Troutman said that with “luck,” Beshear would end up shot. How much more directly threatening can you get?
Kentucky is one of a slew of states across the country that have recently seen some kind of protest against its stay-at-home order. President Donald Trump has encouraged some of these protests, with tweeted calls to “liberate” certain states with Democratic governors. The governors are following social distancing guidelines laid out by his own administration.