Ohio College Republicans Apologize for Calling Congresswoman "Domestic Terrorist" in Fundraising Email

The group says the email using the inflammatory label for New York U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was "unauthorized."

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click to enlarge U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - US House of Representatives
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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

An email sent by the Ohio College Republican Federation yesterday called a Democratic congresswoman a "domestic terrorist," a label often used to describe mass shooters and perpetrators of other violent acts.

The fundraising missive signed by OCRF Chairman and University of Dayton student Tom Ferrall begins with the subject line "AOC is a Domestic Terrorist." 

The rest of the email isn't quite as inflammatory and includes common conservative talking points that college students are being "brainwashed" by "Marxist professors." 

The email, first reported by a reporter with the nonprofit investigative news agency Center for Public Integrity, also contains two pleas for recipients to contribute "$25, $50, $100, $500, $1,000 or more today." 

Ferrall says the email came from an unnamed fundraising group that OCRF has since fired and that he never saw or approved the message.

The language of the email is nearly identical to previous fundraising messages the group has sent out recently, albeit with a new subject line. 

Some of those previous emails also contained language critical of Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman New York representative with unabashedly left-leaning positions, though no others used the phrase "domestic terrorist" before yesterday's.

"This puts me in danger every time," Rep. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted after the email spread on social media. "Almost every time this uncalled for rhetoric gets blasted by conserv. grps, we get a spike in death threats to refer to Capitol Police." 

In the same tweet, Ocasio-Cortez pins threats she has received on Republicans, asking, "GOP, what's it going to take to stop?"

The college Republican group, which says it operates more than 30 chapters on campuses across the state, including ones at University of Cincinnati and Xavier University, has since disavowed the email and apologized. 

"The OCRF does not condone the unauthorized email sent out in our name," the group tweeted. "We apologize to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez for the use of unacceptable language in this email, and we do not approve of the message conveyed."

The University of Dayton released a statement today saying that Ferrall improperly used a student email address to send the fundraising solicitations. 

“Respect for others is a core value of the university and we emphasize the importance of civil discourse," UD's statement reads. "We do talk with students and offer numerous opportunities to explore issues of dialogue and professionalism in curricula and experiential learning opportunities.”

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