Lawmakers face threats of violence from an “enemy” inside Congress, and more cash is required to guard them, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says, a startling acknowledgment of escalating inside tensions over security since this month’s Capitol assault by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
The California Democrat’s remarks Thursday got here because the appearing chief of the Capitol Police stated individually that “vast improvements” are needed to protect the Capitol and adjacent office buildings, including permanent fencing. Such barricades have ringed the complex since the deadly Jan. 6 riot, but many lawmakers have long resisted giving the nation’s symbol of democracy the look of a besieged compound, and leaders were noncommittal about the idea.
Pelosi focused her comments on the anxiety and partisan frictions that have persisted in Congress since Trump supporters’ assault on the Capitol, which led to five deaths. She told reporters she thinks Congress will need to provide money “for more security for members, when the enemy is within the House of Representatives, a threat that members are concerned about.”
Asked to make clear what she meant, Pelosi stated, “It means that we have members of Congress who want to bring guns on the floor and have threatened violence on other members of Congress.”
She didn’t recommend how a lot cash may be wanted.
Some lawmakers who voted for this month’s House impeachment of Trump have reported receiving threats, and preliminary strikes to reinforce security procedures have taken on clear partisan undertones. Some Republicans have loudly objected to having to cross via newly put in metallic detectors earlier than getting into the House chamber, whereas Pelosi has proposed fining lawmakers who bypass the gadgets.
Pelosi didn’t say whom she meant by her reference to an “enemy” within the House, and a spokesperson provided no examples when asked.
First-term Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who has expressed support for baseless QAnon conspiracy theories, has liked Facebook posts that advocated for violence against Democrats and the FBI. One post suggested shooting Pelosi in the head.
Asked to comment, Greene sent a written statement accusing Democrats and journalists of attacking her because she is “a threat to their goal of Socialism” and supports Trump and conservative values.
Earlier this month, the HuffPost website reported that Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., set off a newly installed metal detector while trying to enter the House chamber and was found to be carrying a concealed gun. Other Republicans have also talked about carrying firearms, which lawmakers are permitted to do, though not on the House or Senate floors.
Since the attack, the Capitol grounds have been surrounded by barrier fences and patrolled by National Guard troops. Yogananda D. Pittman, acting chief of the Capitol Police, said in a statement that based on security assessments by her agency and others, some changes should be lasting.
“In light of recent events, I can unequivocally say that vast improvements to the physical security infrastructure must be made to include permanent fencing, and the availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol,” said Pittman, whose agency provides security for Congress.
Pelosi took no immediate stance about Pittman’s proposal for permanent fencing. Drew Hammill, the speaker’s spokesperson, said she would await a Capitol security review led by retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré “to understand what infrastructure changes are necessary.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., took the identical strategy, telling reporters he would “defer to the experts.”
Others panned the everlasting fencing suggestion. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., stated she was “adamantly opposed” and had heard no justification for its want. First-term Rep. Jake Auchincloss, D-Mass., a former Marine, stated it might be mistaken to show the Capitol right into a ”fortress.”
Pelosi met with Honoré however revealed little about what she discovered. His overview is anticipated to be accomplished no sooner than March 5, she stated.
Pelosi stated he was inspecting methods to guard lawmakers “in terms of their service here, their service home, their transportation in between.” Lawmakers have already been informed they will faucet accounts they use for workplace bills for some safety steps, and Pelosi talked about the opportunity of air marshals however offered no element.
Prosecutors have charged greater than 200 individuals for his or her roles within the riot, and others have been arrested after posting threats towards members of Congress.
The public is barred from carrying firearms on Capitol grounds. Members of Congress can hold weapons of their places of work or transport them on the campus in the event that they’re unloaded and securely wrapped.
On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a nationwide terrorism bulletin warning of the opportunity of extra violence from individuals motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden’s election. The division didn’t cite any particular plots.
A Senate trial on whether or not to punish Trump is about to start subsequent month, following his House impeachment on a cost of inciting the riot on the Capitol.
Trump made incendiary remarks to a throng of supporters that day, urging them to march to the constructing. Lawmakers on the time had been formally certifying Biden’s election victory, which Trump has repeatedly and falsely attributed to fraud.
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