Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak was accosted at a Mexican restaurant in Las Vegas on Sunday by a man who recorded the confrontation in a video in which he threatened to “tie you to a lamp post.”
In the video, the man asks Mr. Sisolak, a Democrat, for a picture together. The Governor agrees and the man puts his arm around him before launching into a rude rant and calling the Governor a “traitor of the new world order”.
The Governor and his wife begin to leave the restaurant and the man follows him.
“Where’s your security, punk?” says the man in the video. “We should be putting you through a lamppost right now.”
The man follows the governor and his wife into the parking lot of the restaurant, accusing Mr. Sisolak of treason and working for China. The governor’s wife, Nevada-born Kathy Sisolak, is of Chinese descent, according to the governor’s website.
“You’re lucky I’m a law-abiding citizen,” the man said.
The Governor and his wife are then joined near their vehicle by their daughter, who had had dinner with them, at which time the man in the video leaves them alone.
The encounter comes at a time when threats against public officials — Republicans and Democrats — have increased, according to a recent New York Times review of more than 75 indictments from people accused of threatening lawmakers since 2016.
A declaration from the governor’s office on Monday said Mr. Sisolak was “deeply disappointed with how this incident unfolded, particularly with the language used to discuss the legacy of First Lady Kathy Sisolak.”
The statement continued, “We may disagree on the issues, but personal attacks and threats are unwarranted, unwelcome and unbecoming behavior for the people of Nevada. The governor works on behalf of all Nevadans — even those who disagree with him — and he will continue to do so.
The governor’s office said the confrontation was under investigation, but it did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Mr. Sisolak would press charges.
The man, Justin Andersch, was holding a press conference Tuesday in Las Vegas, during which he said he would not apologize to the governor.
“I will not apologize for speaking up and expressing two years of frustration,” Andersch said. “I will make no apologies for holding officials accountable for their choices.”
Mr Andersch said he lost his job and medical benefits due to Mr Sisolak’s ‘desire to obediently follow the other excessive authoritarian measures’ which he said had been implemented by public officials in the public health interest.
“We have endured two full years of authoritarian overreach guided by the constant shifting of scientific goals,” Andersch said. “Our nation has reached a point where many of us feel faceless and nameless to the ruling elite who seem to live by a different set of rules and the rest of us.”
Mr. Sisolak recently lifted Nevada’s statewide mask mandate. However, like several other elected officials across the country, he has faced backlash from some voters throughout the pandemic over public health measures such as mask mandates and shutdowns. He is a candidate for re-election next November.
Mr. Andersch founded a podcast called “Cannabis and Combat”, which is described on his website as a show that “brings to light the darkest corners of modern culture”.
“Make yourself comfortable being uncomfortable because that’s what it will take to bring the truth to the masses,” the show’s website reads. “Thanks to our incredible supporters, we are able to fight this battle every day. Evil never takes a day and neither do we.