WASHINGTON (AP) — Being a member of Congress is a given, regardless of party or position. A constant threat to my life and an unshakable sense that it is getting worse.
Nearly two years after the Capitol riot, when supporters of former President Donald Trump invaded the Capitol and searched House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of Congress, threats to lawmakers and their families have surged. Early Friday morning, an assailant looking for Pelosi broke into her San Francisco home and attacked her husband, Paul, with a hammer. Her husband Paul was hospitalized with a blunt force injury.
In fact, things are getting worse. Capitol Police investigated about 10,000 threats against members last year. That’s more than double what she was four years ago.
“We are 100% vulnerable and at increased risk,” says Illinois Representative Mike Quigley, a Democrat in the Chicago area. “If someone tries to harm you, they know where you live or work.”
Lawmakers have pressed Congressional leaders and Capitol Police to tighten security, especially in their families and homes outside of Washington. They have made some progress, and security officials have pledged to pay for certain security system upgrades and an increased presence of the Capitol Police in suburbs of Washington. Most are on their own to figure out how to keep themselves and their families safe in a country where political violence is alarmingly common.
The attack on Paul Pelosi occurred while Nancy Pelosi was out of town. That is, the house had very few guards.
“Attacks like this make us all take a step back and wonder if we can do better,” he said at a baseball practice four years ago when a shooter was injured in Alexandria, Virginia. said Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Il.), who was on the Congressman Steve Scalise, R-La., and his four others.
Davis, who was defeated for re-election in the Republican primary earlier this year, said security needs to be improved for members and their families. what do they do “
Like many of their colleagues, both Davis and Quigley say home security has improved in recent years. Two years after the baseball shooting, he was arrested after an Illinois man threatened to shoot Davis in the head. Randall Tarr pleaded guilty to federal indictments and was given a suspended sentence.
Since then, Davis has urged colleagues to report all threats to the police and work with local prosecutors to ensure people are prosecuted. ’ he says.
Such incidents are disturbingly common. On Friday, just hours after Pelosi’s assault, the Justice Department made a threatening phone call to an unidentified California congressman’s office, saying he had “a lot of AR-15s” and wanted to kill the congressman. The man announced that he had pleaded guilty. a member of his staff.
In July, when Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican running for governor of New York, spoke at a campaign event and told Zeldin, “You’re done,” a man called out. Zeldin knocked the man to the ground and escaped with only minor scratches.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash) revealed that earlier this year a man came to her house with a gun and shouted obscenities. After the incident, she wrote to parliamentary leaders asking them to do more to keep lawmakers safe.
Since the January 6 riots, lawmakers’ security has been increased. In July, the House sergeant wrote to all House offices saying members could be reimbursed up to $10,000 for his home security upgrades, including intrusion detection systems, cameras, locks and lights. said. But in reality, advanced security can cost much more.
Some members also step up their security if there is a serious threat. Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders, as well as members of Congress who are considered the most vulnerable of all time, always have the Capitol security guard with them. Not necessarily, but it makes spouses like Paul Pelosi more vulnerable.
Members of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots are also protected 24 hours a day. Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of his two Republicans on that committee, recently published threatening voicemails he received to blackmail his wife and baby.
“Every Republican candidate and elected official must speak up now,” Kinzinger tweeted on Friday after being attacked by Paul Pelosi.
Republican Rep. Davis also urged fellow Democrats and Republicans to condemn the attack.
“The attacks on Paul Pelosi are not just attacks on Nancy Pelosi and her family,” Davis said. “It’s an attack on all of us.”