Some Democrats In Congress Are Worried Their Colleagues Might Kill Them
Benjy Sarlin, policy editor for NBC News, wrote the article under that headline, which he states should not be read in "a rhetorical sense, but in a direct and immediate way". It should be read literally. Some Democrats believe they could be murdered by their Republican colleagues.
Don Beyer (Democrat, Virginia): "It's the most poisonous I've ever seen. There's the overall sense that maybe if some of them have guns — and likely the ones who are more into conspiracy theories and QAnon with the pedophilic satanic rings — are we safe from them?"
Republican Sedition Party includes a number of troubling extremists.
Lauren Boebert (Colorado) is a House freshman who insisted on being allowed to bring her gun to the resumption of the impeachment hearings after the terrorist attack on the Capitol. She complained about the new metal detectors and refused to go through them. In the future, members who refuse will face fines of $5,000 (first time) and $10,000 (subsequent times).
On the morning of January 6, Boebert tweeted: "Today is 1776." During the attack, Boebert sent two tweets mentioning the movements of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, despite being told to refrain from revealing that information. Nancy Mace, a fellow Republican (South Carolina), said those tweets made Boebert "culpable" in the attack. Two right-wing terrorists told Boebert in real time that they were grateful for her updates.
Boebert's Communications Director resigned on Saturday.
Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia) both support QAnon conspiracy theories, though both women say they no longer do (or they never did). A spokesperson for Greene said: "She has nothing to do with QAnon. She doesn't support it. She doesn't follow it." However, the public record shows that Greene has publicly supported QAnon more than any other elected official in the United States. She described Donald Trump's presidency as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles out".
Greene also does not believe in wearing masks during a pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans in less than one year. And she promised, during a recent Newsmax interview, that she will file articles of impeachment against Joe Biden next Thursday, January 21.
Madison Cawthorn (North Carolina), who has spoken at pro-Trump rallies and suggested lawmakers who did not support overturning the election results should be "lightly threatened") said he carried a firearm during the attack.
In October, his campaign insulted a reporter for taking a job "to work for non-white males", such as Senator Cory Booker, whose goal is to "ruin white males running for office". Cawthorn insisted he had no racist intentions in that instance . . . which checks out, because we can all agree that race is never on the mind of someone using the term "white males" and criticizing someone who works for "non-whites".
In total, 147 Republicans joined forces with the terrorists by voting to overturn the election results after the attack on the Capitol. And yet some of them are being threatened, also. Jason Crow (Democrat, Colorado) and Peter Meijer (Republican, Michigan) both claimed that some GOP colleagues cast votes to overturn the election results or against impeaching Trump because they fear for their families' safety.
Crow talked with several Republican colleagues the night before the second impeachment vote. "A couple of them actually broke down in tears talking to me, and saying that they are afraid for their lives if they vote for this impeachment." Meijer told CNBC: "I am expecting there will likely be more political violence. So my expectation [is] . . . there will be folks that try to kill us, and that's something we have to grapple with every day."
Republican John Curtis (Utah) reported that a "Wanted For Treason" flyer was taped to his office door.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) said she feared for her life on January 6, in part because she questioned the motives of her Republican colleagues. She mentioned ""white supremacist members of Congress" who she felt might "disclose my location" and "allow me to be hurt, kidnapped, etc."
Mikie Sherrill (New Jersey) saw Republican lawmakers conducting tours of the Capitol the day before the attack, which she believes were "reconnaissance" missions. All tours of the Capitol were stopped in March 2020 and have not resumed. An investigation has begun. "I was flat on the ground as other members were calling loved ones because they thought that might be the last phone call they made. To imagine that colleagues of mine could have aided and abetted this is incredibly offensive, and there is simply no way they can be allowed to continue to serve in Congress."
Kim Lane Scheppele is a professor of sociology and international affairs at Princeton University. She studies how democracies slide into authoritarianism. She told MSNBC that the atmosphere at the Capitol was (as Sarlin reported) "disturbingly similar to those in governments in which dissident politicians live in fear of death threats, including fears that pro-regime extremists might target them with tacit support from government leaders or state security".
Joanne Freeman, the author of The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War, compared the current situation to the decades before the Civil War, when fistfights often broke out on the House floor (though she notes that it was, in general, a more violent time in American history).
The Washington Post reports that the violent mob was charging up the stairs to the Senate chamber about one minute after Vice President Pence had been taken out of the room.
Pence and his family had just ducked into a hideaway less than 100 feet from that landing, according to three people familiar with his whereabouts, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. If the pro-Trump mob had arrived seconds earlier, the attackers would have been in eyesight of the vice president as he was rushed across a reception hall into the office.
The Post stated that Pence was not whisked away until 14 minutes after Capitol Police reported the first attempted breach of the building. That is a shockingly long time, perhaps indicative of the initial confusion, but it's also possible that Pence was left in a vulnerable position on purpose by Capitol employees sympathetic to Trump and the mob.