Jun 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms: Political rhetoric driving threats against lawmakers

Karen Gibson, Senate sergeant-at-arms, attends the service for U.S. Capitol Officer William Billy Evans, as his remains lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, April 13

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Karen Gibson at the U.S. Capitol in April. Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Karen Gibson told CNN in an interview broadcast Sunday there's been an increase in threats against lawmakers in the past year, and "political rhetoric is a key driver" of anger toward elected officials.

Driving the news: CNN's Pamela Brown asked Gibson if the threats stem from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that led to her predecessor Michael Stenger resigning. Gibson replied: "I would not say since the insurrection, but certainly in 2020 it began to go up considerably and it has remained heightened for a number of members."

  • Gibson noted that political rhetoric is leading to "continued threats unfortunately against a number of elected officials," without naming anyone.
  • Expressing frustration toward elected officials is a right "enshrined in our Constitution and part of what I've sworn to uphold and defend, she said, but "a group of Americans ... have fallen for some conspiracy theories and just some whacked-out ideas that are not based in fact."
"I say tongue-in-cheek now that we have a vaccine for COVID I think we need to work on one for disinformation. But I am concerned about people who just cannot separate fact from fiction."

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