IOWA CITY (AP) — A Republican lawmaker and a man later charged with participating in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot were among thousands of people who chastised Iowa’s attorney general for refusing to seek to overturn Donald Trump’s election loss, records show.
Droves of Trump supporters who wrongly believed the election was stolen due to fraud called Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller a coward, stupid, blind, lazy, pathetic, and worse in angry emails to his office. Several vowed to defeat the Democrat if he runs for reelection in 2022. Others wrongly believed he was a Republican and called him a traitor.
More than 2,500 emails to Miller, obtained by The Associated Press under the open records law, illustrate how authorities at all levels of government came under intense pressure from Trump’s biggest supporters to subvert the election results.
“YOU indeed do have your head up your (asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) in NOT acknowledging that there was blatant FRAUD that happened. It’s proven and if you want to take a blind eye I have NO RESPECT WHATSOEVER FOR YOU!!” a person who identified herself as Debbie Wade wrote to Miller.
Others called him “an enemy of the people,” “an incompetent scumbag,” and a “baby killing Democrat.”
“You may not be interested in war, but war is most certainly interested in you,” one warned.
Miller, the nation’s longest-serving attorney general with four decades in office, was a bit player in the election aftermath. His role was to consider whether Iowa should support or oppose a Texas lawsuit asking the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out the election results in four swing states that Joe Biden won.
Trump carried Iowa’s six electoral votes, winning 52.8% of the vote. Trump backers began writing to and calling Miller’s office demanding that he join the Texas lawsuit almost immediately after it was filed.
“It was pretty amazing, the reaction to this, how quickly it came and how it continued,” Miller spokesman Lynn Hicks said.
He said the office was inundated with thousands of calls with comments ranging from respectful to rude and threatening, and that the crush of calls disrupted their ability to help people with other concerns.
Trump supporters erupted in anger when Miller announced Dec. 10 that Iowa would not back the lawsuit because the elections were “fairly and safely conducted.”
“I cannot support a lawsuit that seeks to invalidate the votes of millions of Americans,” Miller said.
Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds indicated that she would have preferred Iowa to support the Texas lawsuit and she denied Miller’s request to have Iowa join a brief asking the Supreme Court to uphold the results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia. The Supreme Court quickly declined to hear the case.
Among those writing to Miller were Cedar Rapids resident Leo Kelly, who has acknowledged that he spent several minutes in the Senate chamber after joining the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last month and delayed the ratification of Biden’s victory.
“It is cowardly to ride the fence — make a decision,” Kelly wrote to Miller on Dec. 10.
After Miller’s office told Kelly that Iowa would not support the Texas case, Kelly responded twice.
“What process did you use to determine that the elections were fairly and safely conducted by election officials of both parties?” Kelly asked. “You seemed quite confident in the way you stated that ‘fact,’ surely you did something to verify it.”
Kelly, 35, is charged with knowingly entering a restricted building, violent entry with intent to disrupt the orderly conduct of official business and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. He has been released from custody pending a court hearing next month.
State Sen. Ken Rozenboom, R-Oskaloosa, said his constituents were upset that Miller’s response expressed faith in the integrity of the U.S. election system. He said they weren’t interested in Miller’s belief but rather the “truth” about the election, asking Miller to reconsider joining the case.
Rozenboom wrote that the outcome was suspect because Biden won more than 81 million votes despite sitting “in his basement virtually throughout the entire election cycle.”
“Does that make any sense at all?” asked Rozenboom, who was easily reelected to a four-year term in November. “The integrity of future elections is at stake, and our republic cannot survive what may be massive voter fraud.”