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Man who threatened to ‘acquire weapons’ to ‘take down’ Trump arrested by Secret Service

President Donald J. Trump at the 450th mile of the new border wall, Jan. 12, 2021, near the Texas Mexico border. (Shealah Craighead/White House)
January 11, 2022

A man who allegedly threatened to “acquire weapons” to “take down” former President Donald Trump was arrested by the United States Secret Service this week, a federal complaint unsealed on Monday revealed.

The complaint stated that Thomas Welnicki, 72, from Rockaway Beach, New York, “willfully threatened to kill, kidnap, and inflict bodily harm” upon former President Trump. Welnicki made the threats in 2020 and continued up until last month.

During a voluntary interview with Capitol Police in July 2020, Welnicki vowed to “acquire weapons” and “take [Trump] down” if the former president refused to step down after losing the 2020 election against then-presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Welnicki went on to brag about “how easy it was for him to acquire a firearm” and said that while he didn’t “want to hurt anyone” he would “stand up to fascism.”

“I really hope that God takes [Trump] out,” Welnicki added.

In January 2021, Welnicki contacted the Secret Service’s Long Island Resident Office and left two voicemails in which he threatened to kill former President Trump, as well as a dozen unnamed members of Congress. Welnicki also claimed there was a $350,000 reward out to kill Trump and the 12 members of Congress.

 “I am going to do anything I can to take out [Trump]. Oh yeah that’s a threat, come and arrest me. I will do anything I can to take out [Trump] and his 12 monkeys. . . . If I had the opportunity to do it in Manhattan that would be awesome. . . . Tomorrow [Trump] will be in Georgia, maybe I will,” Welnicki said in the first voicemail.

According to the complaint, in the second voicemail, Welnicki said that he “would aid and abet anyone that would shoot [Trump] and any of the 12 unidentified members of Congress,” before adding that he is “going to Georgia tomorrow, I think [Trump] is going to be there.”

In September 2021, Welnicki contacted the Secret Service’s New York Field Office and asked about Secret Service protection of former presidents, including their children, and wanted to know what kinds of weapons the Secret Service uses.  

In November 2021, Welnicki called the Secret Service again. He identified himself by name and repeatedly referred to Trump as “Hitler” and promised to “do everything I can to make sure [Trump] is dead.”

One month later, he called the Secret Service and said “the new Civil war could break out and taking up arms against the government is justified when ballots don’t matter.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Victor Zapana said the “nature of these crimes are serious” and “dangerous.”

Welnicki’s attorney Deirdre Von Dornum, however, rejected the claim that her client posed any actual threat to the former president, noting “they would have arrested him sooner” if Welnicki was dangerous.

“Mr. Welnicki intended no harm to anyone and posed no actual threat,” she told the New York Daily News. “He was expressing how distraught he was at what he saw as the attempted murder of Lady Liberty.”