On Monday, Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) has formally accused John McCall, a reporter in his southern NJ district, of threatening him and his family because of his switching party affiliations.
"A journalist was caught making death threats against a US Congressman, threatening to sexually assault his wife, and 'violate his family' for leaving the Democrat Party."
Van Drew held a press conference on Monday in which he released a transcript of an angry voicemail left by McCall, which reads:
“I would swear to your demise as a politician and I believe that you personally are a degenerate. As a member of the New Jersey Press Association, I will do everything in my power to ensure that you are deposed if not dead. Anything I can do to basically get you out of office, I will do. You are a traitor Jeff Van Drew and you deserve the fate of all traitors."
McCall has been a contributor to the Ocean City Sentinel, but both the Sentinel and the New Jersey Press Association are disavowing any direct ties with him, saying respectively that he is a freelance journalist and not on the Sentinel's payroll, and that he's not nor ever has been a member of the NJPA. Said NJPA President Paul D 'Ambrosio:
"NJPA understands that John McCall asserted he is a member of NJPA. John McCall is not and has never been a member of NJPA, as the association does not have individual journalist members."
David Nahan, the publisher of the Sentinel, told Van Drew:
"Because you felt threatened and felt your wife was threatened, I am sorry. There are no two ways about that. I blame that on my judgment. I knew in advance that the guest column was vitriolic and highly critical of you and your support for the former president. The way it was written, I do not believe it contains any threats of harm because if I did, I would not have allowed it to appear in my newspaper."
Nahan was referring to a column published on Mar. 10, an op-ed by McCall, in which one excerpt reads as follows:
"And as a traitor, he has forfeit this right to protection under the law. Know this V.D.: It doesn’t stop here. ... God save you."