Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor said Thursday that his Richmond campaign office has been shot at and that he’s received “threatening e-mails” — but at the same time the House minority whip accused top Democrats of trying to exploit the threats they’ve been receiving for “political gain
Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor said Thursday that his Richmond campaign office has been shot at and that he’s received “threatening e-mails” — but at the same time the House minority whip accused top Democrats of trying to exploit the threats they’ve been receiving for “political gain.”
Cantor said “a bullet was shot through the window” of his campaign office. The incident happened Monday, Fox News has learned, the latest in a rash of apparent threats and acts of intimidation against members of Congress. Most of the threats so far have been reported by Democrats, but Cantor — the No. 2 Republican in the House — is one of about 10 lawmakers who has asked for increased security protection, Fox News has learned.
In brief and pointed remarks, Cantor said he would not be releasing any information about the other threats he’s received, as some lawmakers have done, out of concern that it would “encourage more to be sent.”
And he admonished his colleagues — specifically Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine — for “dangerously fanning the flames by suggesting these incidents be used as a political weapon.”
“Any suggestion that a leader in this body would incite threats or acts against other members is akin to saying that I would endanger myself, my wife or my children,” Cantor said. “It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain.”
Van Hollen told MSNBC on Wednesday that Republican leaders were “pouring more and more gasoline on the flames.” Kaine, in an interview with the Huffington Post, said Republican leaders are “trying to stoke anger” with lies.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., in an interview with MSNBC Wednesday night, said people are getting “signals” from lawmakers on how to behave and that lawmakers need to “disown” the activity before it gets out of control. He suggested his colleagues were culpable.
“If we participate in it, either from the balcony or on the floor of the House, you are aiding and abetting this kind of terrorism, really,” Clyburn said.
And Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill., told Fox News on Thursday that he thought House Republican Leader John Boehner should step aside for not being more vocal in denouncing the threats.
“He has a responsibility to step up and put an end to this,” Hare said. “I think this is despicable.”
Cantor said Thursday that such threats should not be a “partisan issue.”
Cantor, as minority whip, is the highest elected Jewish politician in the country, and he said some of the threats he’s gotten in the past have been because of his religion. But all the recent threats against lawmakers appear to be connected to the health care debate.
The Department of Homeland Security is involved in the Cantor case because he is a member of the House leadership. U.S. Capitol Police already provide Cantor with a security detail around the clock because of his leadership position, but he has asked for more security.
Fox News has also obtained a threatening message left Friday on the voicemail of Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, which comes on top of a slew of other threats.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced Wednesday that more than 10 lawmakers have been harassed in some way.
A senior Senate Democratic leadership aide told Fox News that threats also have been made against Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., called that odd, given that Frumin just sided against the Democrats on a GOP challenge over the package of fixes being considered in the Senate, in effect sending it back to the House for an extra vote.
“The irony here is that he has people threatening him, but here’s a guy who’s held against us,” Conrad said.
Rep. Betsy Markey, D-Colo., has also reportedly requested police patrols around her unoccupied home for fear it might be vandalized, after her office received a threatening message.
A coffin was found on the lawn of Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo., though it apparently was intended to represent those who might die due to policies in the health care bill.
Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer, in a memo to lawmakers and their staffs Wednesday, exhorted members to “remain vigilant.”
The memo came after at least four Democratic offices were vandalized, including Rep. Louise Slaughter’s local office in upstate New York, which was was hit by a brick that shattered a window.
The office of Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich. — who initially opposed the Senate’s health bill over concerns about abortion funding but switched to support the plan following assurance from the White House — has received several threatening messages, recordings of which have been obtained by Fox News.
In one recording, a man swears at Stupak repeatedly while wishing for him to die.
“Congressman Stupak, you baby-killing motherf—er. … I hope you bleed out your a–, got cancer and die, you motherf—er,” he says.
Somebody also cut a propane line attached to a grill at the Virginia home of Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother, whose address was mistakenly posted online as being that of the congressman.