WASHINGTON — A 68-year-old Encino, Calif. man, was arrested Thursday after allegedly threatening to kill Boston Globe employees because the newspaper rallied against President Donald Trump’s media criticism.
According to the Justice Department, Robert Chain made 14 threatening phone calls in the days surrounding the Globe’s campaign earlier this month urging local papers to run editorials defending the press from President Donald Trump’s attacks. On Aug. 16, more than 300 papers ran editorials on that topic.
“Everyone has a right to express their opinion, but threatening to kill people, takes it over the line and will not be tolerated,” Harold Shaw, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston division, said in a statement. “Today’s arrest of Robert Chain should serve as a warning to others, that making threats is not a prank, it’s a federal crime. All threats are taken seriously, as we never know if the subject behind the threat intends to follow through with their actions. Whether potentially a hoax or not, each and every threat will be aggressively run to ground.”
Chain reportedly used the term “the enemy of the people” during the calls, which took place between August 10 and 22.
The descriptor is one that Trump frequently uses when referring to the media, including one instance on Twitter Thursday morning.
I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda. This includes fake books, which come out about me all the time, always anonymous sources, and are pure fiction. Enemy of the People!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2018
By mid-afternoon, the president had written no less than six tweets criticizing the media, referring to “Fake News” and “Fake Reporting” and lashing out particularly hard at CNN.
In a statement, the Boston Globe applauded law enforcement and maintained that the staff would not be deterred.
“We couldn’t have asked for a stronger response,” the statement read. “While it was unsettling for many of our staffers to be threatened in such a way, nobody — really, nobody — let it get in the way of the important work of this institution.”
Chain was due to appear in federal court Thursday before being transferred to Los Angeles at a later date, according to the Justice Department.