Schweikert Had More Threats Last Year Than Three Terms Combined
Says left is ‘going to get fringier and fringier, louder and louder, angrier and angrier’
Arizona Rep. David Schweikert said he received more death threats in 2017 than in the rest of his time in Congress combined.
The fourth-term Republican made the comments on Wisconsin Republican Rep. Sean Duffy’s “Plaidcast” podcast, the Daily Caller reported.
Schweikert said in addition to threats against him, people have threatened his daughter.
“My fear is this is the playbook of a lot of our brothers and sisters on the left — they’re going to get fringier and fringier, louder and louder, angrier and angrier, and as you and I know, we sometimes have some folks in our society who aren’t completely healthy,” he said.
Schweikert also cited the shooting of House Minority Whip Steve Scalise last year at the Republican team’s practice for the Congressional Baseball Game by a man who was a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Watch: Schumer Decries Harassment of Trump Administration Officials
“We’re supposed to debate, we’re supposed to argue, and we can be passionate, but then we go vote and we have elections, and after we have winners we kind of step back and let them govern,” Duffy said.
Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa told the House Administration Committee on Tuesday that the number of threat assessments his department has handled has nearly doubled since the baseball practice shootings.
Schweikert’s assertion also comes as two member of the Trump administration, adviser Stephen Miller and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, were heckled at restaurants and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was denied service at another during tensions over the administration’s migrant family separation policy.
“There’s an absolute attempt to dehumanize anyone who disagrees, and particularly the rage is off the charts right now because our philosophy is actually working,” Schweikert said.
But violence and threats are not just against Republicans. In January, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker told Nielsen before a committee that he and California Sen. Kamala Harris, both of whom are African-American, and Mazie Hirono, who is Asian-American, have received numerous death threats.
Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters was criticized even by some in her own party for saying people should confront members of the administration in public like they had with Miller, Nielsen and Sanders.
In response, President Donald Trump tweeted “be careful what you wish for, Max.”
Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Cedric L. Richmond put out a statement defending Waters and excoriating Trump.
“We cannot forget that President Trump, as a candidate, encouraged his supporters to beat up his detractors at rallies, and, as president, morally equated white supremacists with anti-racist activists and encouraged police officers to beat up suspects,” his statement said.
Earlier this year, a man named Scott Lloyd pleaded guilty to threatening Waters.
And an Illinois man was investigated for threatening Rep. Frederica Wilson, who like Waters is African-American, after a public confrontation with the White House.