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Lawmakers And The Rise of Death Threats

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) participates in a House Education and Labor Committee markup.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) participates in a House Education and Labor Committee markup.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump didn’t wish any “ill will” after he tweeted a video that seems to suggest Rep. Ilhan Omar was dismissive of 9/11.

But Omar said on Sunday that she’s received an increased number of death threats that reference the video.

Omar said “this is endangering lives. It has to stop.”

— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) April 15, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has requested a review of Omar’s security detail.

In addition to the shooting of Republican Congressman Steve Scalise in summer 2017, and a series of pipe bombs sent to top Democratic lawmakers in the fall of 2018, serious threats against lawmakers seem omnipresent.

A report released in August 2018 by the House Sergeant at Arms showed there had been 1,600 threats against members of the House from January through August last year. There were about 2,000 reported threats in all of 2017 and 902 in 2016.

Similar information is not publicly available for the Senate.

We take a look at the climate for lawmakers. How are these threats made? What steps are taken to protect elected officials?

Produced by Stacia Brown.


Rabia Chaudry, National security fellow at New America; attorney; author, “Adnan’s Story.”

Sanford Ungar, Director of the Free Speech Project at Georgetown University; @SanfordUngar

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

© 2019 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

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