GOP congressional candidate John Bennett who chairs the Oklahoma Republican Party, said before a crowd of supporters he wants to put Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading expert on infectious diseases, "in front of a firing squad." The violent threat prompted his supporters to erupt into cheers.
In a speech, Bennett claimed Republicans are fighting "communist Democrats" as well as "established RINOs"—Republicans In Name Only. RINO is a pejorative applied to officials elected as members of the Republican Party whose positions don't align with everything GOP leadership does.
In recent years, RINO has been applied to any Republican who criticizes or disagrees with Donald Trump.
Bennett then proceeded to express his support for former President Donald Trump's falsehoods about the 2020 general election being stolen. He also took aim at the COVID-19 pandemic response, declaring Republicans are "in a war with bureaucrats that have forced vaccine mandates on us, mask mandates on us.”
Shortly afterward he suggested "we should try Anthony Fauci and put him in front of a firing squad" which you can hear him say in the video below.
Bennett launched into his attack against Fauci after railing at Democrats for promoting what he referred to as "wokeness confusion," a dig at progressives who've advocated for more inclusive rights for women, minorities, LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized groups.
"You know what? They're pushing this wokeness confusion down on throats now, and by the way, we should try Anthony Fauci and put him in front of a firing squad."
Bennett did not elaborate on what crimes he believes Fauci may have committed but he did make an attempt to give himself some plausible deniability with remarks directed toward the Secret Service:
“And for the Secret Service, if they’re listening, I’m not advocating we kill Anthony Fauci... until he’s convicted of his crimes through a court.”
Bennett's supporters issued loud cheers in response.
The video of Bennett's remarks and the crowd's reaction garnered attention on social media after it was shared by Right Wing Watch, a watchdog group dedicated to monitoring and exposing extremist activities and rhetoric of right-wing activists and organizations.
The footage quickly went viral, sparking significant outrage outline and many moved to condemn Bennett's violent rhetoric.
Bennett has a history of promoting violence against his political opponents.
In November 2016, Bennett was harshly criticized after he posted on his Facebook page a photograph of Hillary Clinton, then the Democratic Party's presidential nominee, with a caption suggesting that she should be executed by firing squad.
Bennett denied he was calling for Clinton's execution, saying the post was mere "barracks talk" and telling news outlets that his remarks were meant as "sarcasm."