Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, claimed that one of his staff members received a call on Tuesday from a man threatening to kill the congressman by showing up at his office with an assault rifle.
According to a report by Fox News, the staff member said in an email screenshotted by Swalwell that the call came in at 11:30 a.m. The congressman claimed on Twitter that the staffer has only been in the position for a month.
“Asked me about where Congressman Swalwell is currently. Asked if he could talk to him. Went on a rant regarding gay issues. Mentioned he has guns and wants to ‘F— him up,'” the staffer wrote in the message. “He will bring guns (AR-15s) to the office to kill him and f— him up.”
According to Swalwell, he spread the word to warn people that “bloodshed is coming.” After sharing a voicemail earlier this month in which someone threatened to cut off his and his family members’ heads, it is the most recent threat he has made on Twitter.
House Sergeant-at-Arms William Walker previously informed the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch that threats against members nearly doubled last year to 9,000.
Paul Vernon Hoeffer, a 60-year-old Florida resident who had called two members of Congress with threatening messages, entered a guilty plea earlier this year.
Violence in the actual world can occasionally be stoked by threats. In June 2017, while they were preparing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and five other persons were shot.
In regards to the threat against Swalwell, the FBI and Capitol Police did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
The Guardian reported last year that the “US faces [a] new era of political violence as threats against lawmakers rise,” and “Members of the House will now get up to $10,000 to upgrade their home security as experts warn such threats endanger the health of US democracy.”
Experts warn that such threats put the stability of the US democracy at risk as support for political violence appears to be increasing in the country. However, they assert that if political figures, particularly those in the Republican party, speak out against this alarming conduct, the nation still has time to tamp down violent discourse.
The news regarding tightening security for members of Congress comes days after a man brandished a sharp instrument at Lee Zeldin, a congressman from New York and Republican candidate for governor, during a campaign event.
A guy was detained outside the residence of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, two weeks prior to that for reportedly yelling racial epithets and threatening to kill her. Authorities charged a federal offense against a last month.