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President Brian L. Renfroe’s statement on Gov. DeSantis’ violent threat against federal employees

Last week at a campaign event in New Hampshire, presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said about federal employees, “we are going to start slitting throats on Day One” as a way to combat the “deep state.”

NALC President Brian L. Renfroe issued the following statement in response to DeSantis’ remarks:

“Gov. DeSantis’ violent threat against federal employees is appalling, shocking, disturbing and should alarm every single American. Our members, and all federal employees, have devoted their working lives to public service and do not deserve to be subject to violent threats and assaults, especially from politicians. Gov. DeSantis’ rhetoric would be extremely dangerous at any time, but is particularly disgraceful at a time when letter carriers are increasingly being targeted by violent criminals.

Letter carriers have been named the most trusted federal employees in a variety of public polls, for many years running. Unfortunately, we continue to see an increase in violent assaults and crimes against letter carriers. Every day our members, who are federal employees dutifully performing their jobs delivering paychecks, medications, ballots and other essential mail, are being targeted in communities across the country.

During the pandemic, letter carriers never stopped working, keeping our nation connected during dangerous and uncertain times and delivering household items so tens of millions of Americans could shelter safely at home. As Americans received more packages and stimulus checks in the mail, violent criminals started targeting our members, a disturbing trend that has only continued.

In just the last several days, a letter carrier was shot in Chicago, and others were robbed in San Francisco and Toledo, OH, just to cite a few incidents. Tragically, we lost our Brother Aundre Cross, who was shot in the back while delivering the mail in Milwaukee last year. These are not isolated incidents. They are happening nationwide in communities everywhere.

Every attack against a letter carrier, or any federal employee, is heartbreaking, traumatic and completely unacceptable. NALC calls on federal prosecutors to prioritize these cases and prosecute every one of these crimes to the fullest extent of the law. We must get the message out that any crime against a federal employee is intolerable and that perpetrators will be punished.

With this in mind, it is incomprehensible that a governor seeking the highest office in our country would call for violence against public servants. Perhaps Gov. DeSantis has forgotten that any crime against an on-duty federal employee is a federal crime with severe consequences. His harmful threats of violence are criminal, will only exacerbate an existing problem, and have no place in elected office or our society.

Letter carriers are the eyes and ears of every community in the country. We go above and beyond keeping an eye out for our customers every day. In May, a letter carrier was on his route when he interrupted an assailant violently assaulting staffers in Rep. Gerry Connolly’s district office in Virginia. Letter carriers perform lifesaving actions like this every day.

Gov. DeSantis’ harsh threats are out of line and should not be overlooked. We demand that Gov. DeSantis immediately retract this dangerous statement and apologize to the over 280,000 city letter carriers NALC represents, as well as millions of other public servants of the federal government who have dedicated their working lives to serving the people of the United States.”