Politicians on both side of the political aisle in Washington, D.C. received threatening messages in the aftermath of Wednesday’s shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and four others at a baseball field Alexandria, Virginia.
BuzzFeed News reported that soon after the shooting that multiple Democratic Congress members reported that their offices had received calls saying “You guys are next,” according to Democratic Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan.
Scalise and other Republicans had been practicing for Thursday’s annual congressional baseball game when James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, opened fire. Two Capitol Police officers, one congressional aide and one lobbyist were also injured. Scalise had surgery at a Washington hospital and remains in critical condition.
Barragan said lawmakers revealed the threatening calls during a members-only meeting after Wednesday’s shooting. She said she was not one of those to be threatened and declined to name any who were, citing their safety, per BuzzFeed.
Barragan was practicing with her fellow Democrats on Wednesday morning for the upcoming baseball game when she was informed of the shooting at the Republican practice field. Everyone at the Democratic practice was safe.
Meanwhile, a Republican representative said she received a threatening email shortly after the attack. Politico and CBS News both report that the office of New York Republican Claudia Tenney, a first-term representative, received an email with the subject line “One down, 216 to go,” an apparent reference to the number of House members who voted in favor of the American Health Care Act. There are 238 total Republicans in the House.
“Did you NOT expect this?” the body of the email read. “When you take away ordinary peoples very lives in order to pay off the wealthiest among us, your own lives are forfeit. Certainly, your souls and morality were lost long before. Good riddance.”
Tenney, who voted for the ACHA, said she has received threatening messages and emails in the past, but called the most recent one “particularly disheartening following this morning’s tragic events,” per Politico.
According to BuzzFeed, members of Congress have noticed an uptick in threatening messages to their offices in the past few months. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff told MSNBC after the shooting that “many members are seeing a real escalation in the number of death threats.”
“I think all of us have gotten those kind of threats from time to time, but they do seem to have escalated given the deterioration in the political climate over the last couple years,” Schiff added.
When Texas Democrat Al Green called for President Donald Trump to be impeached on the House floor in late May, his office received several voice mails threatening to lynch him, according to the Houston Chronicle.
On June 5, Kim Weaver, a Democrat who had announced plans to run against Rep. Steve King in Iowa in 2018, announced she was withdrawing from the race and moving out the district after “alarming acts of intimidation, including death threats” against her, per the Sioux City Journal.