Sending Office: Committee on Homeland Security
Sent By:
Christian.Hollowell@mail.house.gov

 This morning, the Capitol Police Chief
testified
that threats to Members are increasing. President Trump’s most recent attack on four Members of Congress has the potential to incite violent extremism and threatens the safety of all Members of Congress.  Therefore, I have sent the attached letter
to the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate, who chairs the US Capitol Police Board, urging him to immediately convene the Board to analyze the current threat environment and set thresholds for enhanced safety of Members. Being proactive in this instance is vital
to the safety all Members of Congress.

————————————————————————-

 

The Honorable Michael C. Stenger

Sergeant at Arms

United States Senate

U.S. Capitol, Room S-151

Washington, DC 20510

 

 

Dear Mr. Stenger,

 

As a result of President Trump’s most recent direct attacks on four Members of Congress, I strongly urge you to convene an emergency meeting of the United States Capitol Police Board, which you serve as Chairman, to re-examine the Board’s approach to analyzing
the risk environment, setting thresholds for enhanced security for certain targeted Members, and evaluating threat streams with law enforcement partners in Member districts. Your convening of this meeting is vital to the safety of all Members of Congress and
should occur within the next 48 hours. I also request a classified readout of this meeting.

 

On Sunday, July 14, 2019, President Trump used social media to directly attack four Members of Congress.[1] To date, Trump continues to use social media to vilify these four Members.[2]
Further, on Monday, July 15, 2019, during a White House Press Conference, Trump accused the four Members of Congress of “hating America” and staged a direct attack on Representative Ilhan Omar (MN).
[3]  As you are familiar, inflammatory remarks targeting individuals on social media and in the public arena were a central feature of the presidential campaign, and now, presidency of Donald J. Trump.[4] 

 

The President’s rhetoric may insinuate more attacks on Members of Congress. The President’s most recent attack empowered a sitting United States Senator to call these Members “communists”.[5] A White nationalist
blog has praised the President’s recent remarks toward these Members.[6] Unfortunately, the President’s charged remarks directed toward Members of Congress have emboldened people to pursue acts of violence toward
public officials.[7] 

 

This is not my first time bringing my concerns about Members’ safety to the Board’s attention.[8] In April, after President Trump staged another direct attack on Representative Ilhan Omar, I urged the Board to
convene an emergency meeting. To date, I have not received confirmation that this meeting occurred. Further, in June 2018, I wrote then U.S. Capitol Police Chief Verderosa about the threats to Members’ safety after the President’s remarks directed at Representative
Maxine Waters (D-CA).[9]  On July 13, 2018, I received a response from the then-Chairman of the Capitol Police Board, House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, that expressed that the Board had concluded, “based on the
threat assessment and other pertinent intelligence and information…the United States Capitol Police nor my office have actionable intelligence that would indicate that a USCP protective security detail is warranted for Representative Waters…”[10]

 

Just days after Irving’s response, a California man—who stated he was inspired by President Trump was sentenced for making threats against Representative Waters.  Then, in October 2018, a nation-wide bombing campaign was carried out against prominent Democrats
and media outlets by a Trump supporter.[11]

 

In February 2019, a Maryland man was arrested for plotting to commit mass murder. According to prosecutors, the man was going to kill on a “scale never seen before,” and his targets included both Members of the House and the Senate.[12]
Then, in March 2019, a man was convicted of making threats against Representative Waters.[13]

 

The President’s tweets vilifying Members of Congress, including an edited tweet about Representative Ilhan Omar, incited death threats.[14]  In April 2019, a man in New York was arrested
and charged
 with threatening to kill Representative Omar, whom he described as a “terrorist.”[15]  The President, at a public event in Minnesota, stated that he did not regret posting the video and further
defamed Rep. Omar.[16]

 

While the examples I have given you are not exhaustive of the amount of direct threats Members have received, the President’s most recent public, direct attacks on four Members of Congress should not be taken lightly.  Given the President’s most recent charged
remarks toward four Members of Congress, it is imperative that you call an emergency meeting to analyze the risk environment, set thresholds for enhanced security for certain targeted Members, and evaluate threat streams with law enforcement partners in Member
districts.  Being proactive in this instance is vital to the safety of not only these targeted Members, but all Members of Congress.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Bennie G. Thompson

Chairman

 

 

CC:   The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, United States House of Representatives

          The Honorable Steven A. Sund, Chief, United States Capitol Police

          The Honorable Paul D. Irving, Sergeant at Arms, United States House of Representatives

          The Honorable Christine A. Merdon, Acting Architect of the Capitol, Architect of the Capitol

          The Honorable Karen Bass, Chair, Congressional Black Caucus

          The Honorable Joaquin Castro, Chair, Congressional Hispanic Caucus

          The Honorable Mark Pocan, Co-Chair, Congressional Progressive Caucus

          The Honorable Pramila Jayapal, Co-Chair, Congressional Progressive Caucus

          The Honorable Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Representative, 14th Congressional District,

          New York

          The Honorable Ilhan Omar, Representative, 5th Congressional District, Minnesota

          The Honorable Ayanna Pressley, Representative, 7th Congressional District, Massachusetts

          The Honorable Rashida Tlaib, Representative, 13th Congressional District, Michigan

          The Honorable Maxine Waters, Representative, 43rd Congressional District, California

 


[3] Naylor, Brian. “They Are Free To Leave: Trump Accuses Congresswomen Of Hating America.” 15 July 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/07/15/741771445/trump-continues-twitter-assault-on-4-minority-congresswomen

[4]Sommers-Dawes, Kate, and Ryall, Jenni. “Insult after insult: All of Trump’s ugly campaign rhetoric in one place”.
https://mashable.com/feature/trump-timeline/

[5] Cole, Devan. “Graham declines to condemn racist Trump tweets and calls Democratic congresswomen ‘a bunch of communists’”. 15 July 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/15/politics/lindsey-graham-communists-democratic-congresswomen/index.html

[6]Anglin, Andrew. “Trump Tells Brown Communist Democrats to Leave America, Return to Their Sh*tholes” 15 July, 2019, https://dailystormer.name/trump-tells-brown-communist-democrats-to-leave-america-return-to-their-shitholes/

[7] Baker, Peter. “Trump Fans the Flames of a Racial Fire.” 14 July 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/07/14/us/politics/trump-twitter-race.html?action=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage.

[8] Thompson, Bennie G. “Emergency Meeting of USCP Board to Assess Risk Environment.” 18 April, 2019.

[9] Thompson, Bennie G. “Concerns on Rep. Waters Security.” 26 June, 2018.

[10] Verderosa, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew. Received by Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson, 13 July 2018, Washington, District of Columbia.

[11] Avlon, John. “Here’s How Many Times Trump Attacked Pipe Bomb Targets.” CNN, 26 October 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/25/opinions/number-of-times-trump-attack-bomb-targets-avlon/index.html.

[12] Myre, Greg, and Romo, Vanessa.
Arrested Coast Guard Officer Allegedly Planned Attack ‘On A Scale Rarely Seen’.” 20 Feb. 2019, www.npr.org/2019/02/20/696470366/arrested-coast-guard-officer-planned-mass-terrorist-attack-on-a-scale-rarely-see.

[13] Gold, Michael. “Trump Fan Who Made Racist Death Threats to Obama and Maxine Waters Receives 46-Month Sentence.” New York Times, 19 May 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/nyregion/trump-fan-obama-maxine-waters-threat.html.

[14] Arciga, Julia. “Trump Attacks Rep. Ilhan Omar With 9/11 Video.”
The Daily Beast, New York Times, 19 May 2019, www.thedailybeast.com/trump-attacks-rep-ilhan-omar-with-911-video.

[15] Sonmez, Felicia. “New York Man Charged with Threatening to Kill Rep. Ilhan Omar”, The Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/politics/new-york-man-charged-with-threatening-to-kill-rep-ilhan-omar/2019/04/06/5bcc05a4-5890-11e9-814f-e2f46684196e_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.59efb6c1cc84.

[16] “Trump: No Regrets about Video Attacking Rep. Omar.”
Trump: No Regrets about Video Attacking Rep. Omar, CNN, 16 Apr. 2019, www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2019/04/16/donald-trump-no-regrets-over-video-attacking-rep-omar-sot-lead-vpx.cnn.

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