“I hope your family dies”: Lawmakers fear for his or her security as violent threats surge

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Congresswoman Debbie Dingell receives a number of threatening calls each week. 

A pattern voicemail: “I hope your family dies in front of you. I pray to God if you have any children they die in your face.”

The threats ramped up after then-President Donald Trump verbally attacked her and her late husband John at a marketing campaign rally in December 2019, the Michigan Democrat mentioned. 

“He made very public comments about John looking up from hell. And I was just stunned by it,” Dingell mentioned. 

It’s not solely verbal abuse.  

“I had men in front of my house with assault weapons after [Fox News host] Tucker Carlson had done a rant on me,” she mentioned. 

In November, her Dearborn workplace was vandalized.

The threats have had an influence on her and he or she worries that talking out about it might make her extra of a goal. Other lawmakers declined to talk with CBS News as a result of they did not need to normalize the violent threats. 

“I’m trying not to let it get to me,” Dingell mentioned. “But it doesn’t mean that some nights when you’re home and alone and you don’t have the husband you love anymore, you don’t get scared.”

A 12 months after the January 6 riot, the Capitol Police says the threats to lawmakers are at an all-time excessive. Roughly 9,600 threats had been referred to the company in 2021, about 100 greater than in 2020. 

CBS News obtained greater than a dozen voicemails concentrating on lawmakers of each events.  

“Schiff. Shifty Schiff … I will but a bullet in your f***ing forehead,” one directed at California Democrat Adam Schiff mentioned. 

Michigan Republican Fred Upton acquired one calling him a “f***ing piece of s*** traitor.” ” I hope you die. I hope everybody in your f***cking family dies,” the voicemail mentioned. 

The brother of New York Democrat Hakeem Jeffries was threatened by a California man claiming to be “armed and nearby.” 

New York Republican Tom Reed had a useless rat with a noose round its neck left on his doorstep. 

“Hey, Cynthia dumb a**,” mentioned a voicemail left for Senator Cynthia Lummis, a Wyoming Republican, after she voted in opposition to impeaching Trump. “You f***ing committed treason. You f***ing committed sedition. And I will f***ing kill you. I will. I will f***ing kill you.” 

The man who left the voicemail for Lummis is now serving 18 months in jail, after pleading responsible to 4 counts of creating threats with the intent to hurt.

Psychologist Mario Scalora, who has labored for the Capitol Police for greater than 20 years and analyzes threats in opposition to lawmakers, mentioned the present surroundings worries him. The rise in threats is a direct reflection of the present political discourse, he mentioned.

“We’re seeing more people out there putting out more threatening rhetoric. We’re seeing more people out there justifying violence in their rhetoric,” Scalora instructed CBS News. “This is the most concern I’ve ever had in 20 years.”

“We’re being stretched. Let’s be blunt. We’re being stretched. We’re keeping up, but this is not an ideal situation,” he added. 

Capitol Police flagged about 460 threats in opposition to lawmakers’ lives final 12 months. 

Capitol Police chief Tom Manger mentioned maintaining with the threats is difficult. The danger to lawmakers is “higher than it should be,” he instructed CBS News. 

Threats in opposition to lawmakers rise when members of Congress take rhetorical goal at colleagues, in keeping with Scalora. After Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert likened Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar to a suicide bomber, each acquired threats.

“You’re a f***ing traitor. You will not live much longer, b***h, I can almost guarantee you that,” mentioned a voicemail left for Omar. 

Manger mentioned these are forms of threats they see every day. 

“At a moment’s notice, something could happen that we’re not anticipating,” he mentioned. 

The Capitol Police is now seeking to examine extra of these threats itself and rely much less on different companies. Manger’s intelligence unit has doubled the variety of analysts accessible to observe the menace panorama, particularly on-line. The division can be trying so as to add 280 new officers this 12 months and is opening area places of work in California and Florida to research these threats extra effectively. 

Dingell mentioned voters want to carry politicians accountable for his or her tone on the polls if the nation goes to alter course. 

“We all need to think about what we’re saying to each other, what we’re doing to each other,” she mentioned. “Who I really worry about is the kids, the young people in our office who believe in public service, who believe in our democracy, who are frequently the ones that hear those messages first before we do.” 

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