Society

Democrats Get Calls Saying 'You Guys Are Next'

| by Jordan Smith

Democratic members of Congress say they have been receiving an increased number of threats over recent days.

Several lawmakers spoke to BuzzFeed News about phone calls and emails to their offices both before and after the June 14 shooting of Republican House Majority Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

Scalise was among several people shot during training for a congressional baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia. The assumed shooter, James Hodgkinson, who died after being shot by police, was reportedly a supporter of progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

A security meeting for Democratic House members was held, after which Democratic Rep. Nannette Diaz Barragan of California explained to BuzzFeed News what had been discussed.

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She noted that some representatives reported being told, "You guys are next."

Barragan did not name names, but said one of the calls was made to "a member who was not on the [Democratic baseball] team." She added, "and other Democratic members expressed concern that they were getting calls saying, 'You Democrats, you Democrats.'"

Democratic Rep. Al Green of Texas stated he had been the target of several threats, especially since announcing his intention to attempt to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

Republicans also pointed to an increase in threatening messages.

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"In the past we've always sort of just sucked it up, we've sucked it up and just, 'oh that's not real.' But you've got to understand, there's something wrong," Republican Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona said.

The New York Times reported that Hodgkinson, the presumed shooter in the attack that injured Scalise and two of his aides, as well as two members of the Capitol Police, was distraught over the election of Trump.

The congressional annual baseball game, which Republican representatives and senators were practicing for when the shooting occurred, will still go ahead June 15.

Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina left the practice before the shooting and said he met a man in the parking lot later who was identified as the gunman. The man asked Duncan if Democrats or Republicans were practicing.

"I told him they were Republicans," Duncan said. "He said, 'OK, thanks,' turned around."

Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Party Caucus, said House members have been dealing with threats of violence for some time.

"We are public officials, part of our shtick is to draw attention to ourselves so we will always be mindful of [the danger of that," Crowley told BuzzFeed News. "But I am more concerned about the safety of my staff."

He suggested that the shooting of Scalise should serve as a reminder to politicians not to engage in overheated rhetoric.

"I think overall there should be more of a sense of the importance of what we say and how it is interpreted from the top down," he said. "We have a responsibility and the president has a responsibility to understand the rhetoric and what we say has consequences."

Sources: BuzzFeed News, The New York Times / Photo credit: The White House/Wikimedia Commons

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