AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File
- Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates now has PTSD after relentless attacks during the 2020 election.
- Election deniers upset about the 2020 presidential results harassed Gates, per The Washington Post.
- Gates, a longtime Republican, became withdrawn and angry as a result of the campaign against him and his family.
A Republican official in Arizona revealed that he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after election deniers targeted him and his family as a result of the 2020 presidential race.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Bill Gates, the current chair of the influential Maricopa County Board of Supervisors — which has jurisdiction over one of the most politically-competitive counties in the United States — spoke of the challenges that he faced as a result of backing the integrity of the countywide vote in 2020.
A longtime Republican, Gates said he backed former President Donald Trump in the 2016 election and was an elected official in what was a longtime redoubt of the GOP.
But things began to change in 2020 as opponents of the county’s COVID-19 protocols railed against mask mandates put into place to curb the spread of the virus.
And after now-President Joe Biden won both Maricopa County and Arizona in November 2020, Trump-aligned Republicans sought to stop the certification of Biden’s victory. Those efforts to overturn the result stretched into the next year when the GOP commissioned an audit of the presidential results in the county.
During that time, Trump and many Republicans in his orbit continued to question the integrity of the vote in Arizona without any verifiable proof of fraud.
Gates himself faced death threats, while fliers with an image of his face were sent around to his neighbors, according to The Post. Soon, his family began to feel unsafe in their own residence, and briefly left their home to escape the harassment, per the report.
After Gates’ usually cheery personality morphed into one that was much more withdrawn, along with his difficulties with sleeping, a loss of appetite, and an increasing propensity to lose his cool during meetings and television interviews, his wife told him he needed to go to therapy.
According to the report, a therapist informed Gates that he had “classic” signs of PTSD, a condition often associated with troops coming home from war.
Gates was dealing with his own battles in Arizona. And as he received the therapy that was helping him tackle his most personal issues, he leaned on his family as they all worked through the difficult experience that had kept them on edge.
“This has been a family journey,” he told the newspaper. “We’re all working through this together. But we had to understand that we couldn’t do this on our own. We had to reach out for help.”