A once little-known Democratic operative and member of the Miami Democratic Executive Committee has found himself in hot water after threatening on Twitter to kill WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Evan Ross is a budding young Democratic lobbyist heavily involved in the South Florida Democratic scene. Ross works as a lobbyist, served as president of the Miami-Dade Young Democrats and was the Miami Democratic Party’s district chairman from 2011-2012.
Ross’ star has continued to climb. At one point he was even named “Young Democrat of the Year.”
FDP chair Stephen Bittel hand-picked Ross to serve on the party’s legislative committee, working hand-in-hand with state lawmakers to push the party’s agenda through the halls of the Florida Capitol.
Ross has kept a relatively low profile -- until now.
It all started when he took to Twitter Friday evening in a rant centered around WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Edward Snowden.
"He exposed classified American secrets that endangered lives.” Ross wrote at the time. "He and his buddy Edward Snowden both deserve to meet their maker. I'd be happy to pull the trigger on both of those too."
It didn’t take long for Assange to catch wind of the threats and the Australian computer programmer quickly tweeted out a response, screenshotting the tweets and trashing Ross as a “#tolerantliberal.”
Assange’s Twitter account has nearly 250,000 followers, some of whom went after Ross for making the comments. Twitter users flooded Ross’ mentions, criticizing him for making the comments. Some users even sent him death threats.
Yet, in spite of the backlash, Ross refused to back down from the statements, saying he had no regrets about expressing his thoughts.
"I believe strongly in the right to free speech, but I won't be bullied into trading my patriotism for political correctness by Julian Assange or his army of Twitter trolls," Ross wrote in an email to the Miami New Times.
Ross later locked his Twitter account and accused Assange of leading a “bullying” campaign against him, which some users were quick to criticize.
“You can’t threaten someone’s life and then pull the ‘they’re bullying me’ excuse,” wrote one user.
According to various sources, not everyone in the Democratic Party is happy about Ross’ comments. Two sources within the Miami Democratic Party told the New Times they would be filing a complaint in the party over the issue, which has only seemed to intensify as the days go on.
Assange and Snowden have made headlines in recent years for blowing the lid off of national security secrets.
Snowden made headlines in 2013 after leaking and exposing the National Security Agency’s plans to spy on average Americans, which ultimately led to criminal charges of theft of government property, and two counts of violating the Espionage Act.
Snowden later fled the country and sought asylum in Russia.
Assange heads up WikiLeaks, which routinely publishes secret information and news leaks. In 2016, WikiLeaks made national headlines after releasing thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee which suggested DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, longtime South Florida congresswoman, and other top Democratic officials unfairly favored Hillary Clinton over U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary.
Sunshine State News attempted to contact the Florida Democratic Party for a statement but had not received a response at the time of this article’s release.