Susan Collins: 'I Wouldn't Be Surprised' if a Lawmaker Is Killed

'New York Times' looks at the rise in violent threats against House, Senate members
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2022 1:42 AM CDT
Susan Collins: 'I Wouldn't Be Surprised' if a Lawmaker Is Killed
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, stands in a subway car on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 9, 2022.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Amid an increasingly tense political atmosphere and as the midterm elections loom, lawmakers are concerned about what the New York Times describes as a "surge" of violent threats and in-person confrontations. "I wouldn’t be surprised if a senator or House member were killed," Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican, tells the Times. Three people are behind bars and there are more who could end up there as a result of threats made against her; in one incident, a window at her home was broken. "What started with abusive phone calls is now translating into active threats of violence and real violence," Collins says. Recorded threats against lawmakers were, by last year, up by more than tenfold over the period before Donald Trump was elected president.

Collins, who saw the threats against her escalate after she supported confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, is far from the only lawmaker dealing with scary situations; Rep. Pramila Jayapal had a man show up outside her home with a gun yelling threats, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has dealt with what the Times refers to as "a near-constant stream of threats and harassment." While House and Senate leaders have security details, rank-and-file members of the chambers aren't always able to get protection easily, and an increasing number of them are using their official or campaign accounts to pay for security. AOC, for example, says it took years to secure extra protection from the Capitol Police; she has also spent more than $120K on protection since last year.

See the full article, which notes that lawmakers of color are threatened more than their white colleagues, at the Times. Per Vanity Fair, election workers have also been subjected to increased threats, and officials say the safety concerns could lead to a shortage of workers. The Hill, meanwhile, runs down some of the disturbing rhetoric that has made headlines recently. Trump, for example, said Friday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had a “death wish” when he sided with Democrats to vote for a bill funding the government through mid-December. The following day at a rally held by Trump in Michigan, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene falsely claimed, "I’m not going to mince words with you all. Democrats want Republicans dead, and they have already started the killings." (Read more Congress stories.)

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