Capitol Police Scramble To Protect Ilhan Omar Over Death Threats After ‘Send Her Back’ Chants
Capitol Police on Thursday called an emergency meeting after congressional Democrats on Thursday sounded the alarm over increasing death threats toward freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) after a crowd at President Trump’s rally the night before chanted “send her back.”
Capitol Police chief Michael Stenger said that threats against lawmakers are increasing and projected that the number of threats this year will break last year’s record.
Multiple Democrats requested enhanced security for members of Congress, including Omar and her three closest allies who were also targeted by Trump earlier this week when he suggested they all “go back” to other countries.
Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) announced on the House floor that he plans to introduce legislation asking for more security resources for lawmakers. While members of leadership in both parties have dedicated security details, rank-and-file members do not.
“This is an important time in this country. These are dangerous times. Every member of this House needs additional security,” Green said.
Asked by reporters if she was scared for her safety, Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, said “I am not. What I’m scared for is the safety for people who share my identity.”
“This is not about me. This is about fighting for what this country should be and what it deserves to be,” Omar said.
The House voted on Wednesday to table a resolution from Green to impeach Trump for inflaming racial tensions in America that cited the attacks on the four congresswomen as the latest example.
Omar on Thursday stressed the importance of lawmakers sending the message that we’re “all welcome, regardless of what he says.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), one of the four lawmakers targeted by Trump this week, said Thursday that she’s concerned for her safety amid heightened attacks from Trump on her and the members of her “squad,” accusing the president of targeting the minority lawmakers at risk of inciting violence against them.
Asked if she is concerned about her security, Ocasio-Cortez was blunt.
“Of course. I think part of the point is to target us,” she said. “The president is evolving, as predicted, deeper into. … the rhetoric of racism which evolves into violence.”
She added: “It’s natural to be concerned about our security.”
During the rally Wednesday night in Greenville, N.C., Trump mentioned each of the four Democratic lawmakers by name and listed quotes that he argued demonstrated how they are outside the mainstream. As Trump spoke about Omar, the crowd broke into chants of “send her back.”
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), who represents the district where Trump’s rally took place, said that he’s worried the president is “inciting many of those to the dark side.”
“I’m concerned about the safety, not just for the four women, but the safety of everyone who is similarly situated,” Butterfield said.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who like Butterfield and Omar is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said she is “frightened” by the atmosphere on display at Trump’s rally.
“I am concerned for women of color, who may be fighting on the foreign shores as to how their morale would be,” Jackson Lee said. “I certainly am concerned about my fellow members of Congress who, as everyone has said, have been duly elected by their constituency. And I am frightened about highlighting a woman whose birth was first in Africa.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), meanwhile, defended Trump, saying the president’s message is simply that “if you don’t love America, you can leave.”
In 2011, then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot and gravely wounded by a man who opened fire on a constituent meet-and-greet at a grocery store parking lot. Six people were killed in the shooting.
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