WASHINGTON D.C. (Yahoo News) — After last week’s deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, members of Congress are expressing something once unthinkable: that some of their own colleagues may be endangering their lives. Not in a rhetorical sense, but in a direct and immediate way.
“It’s the most poisonous I’ve ever seen,” Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., said in an interview. “There’s the overall sense that maybe if some of them have guns — and likely the ones who are more into conspiracy theories and QAnon with the pedophilic satanic rings — are we safe from them?”
Since the deadly riot Jan. 6, lawmakers have suggested — not, so far, backed up by evidence — that far-right colleagues may have helped plan or guide the attack. There are particular concerns about some newly elected members who have espoused extremist views, including comments supportive of the QAnon lie that accuses perceived enemies of Trump of being part of a child-abusing cult.
One House freshman is pushing to carry firearms on Capitol grounds, and another recounts being armed during the attack, further putting their colleagues on edge. With the support of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., security officials have installed metal detectors outside the House floor, causing tension among some Republicans and effectively suggesting that members themselves may pose a danger.
Democrats are outraged at 147 Republicans who they say abided by the rioters’ calls and voted to overturn the election results even after the violent attack, which left five people dead and forced lawmakers to hide in their offices and safe rooms.
But, Beyer said, the issue “that has the greater emotional impact is the sense that there’s perhaps actual physical danger from our colleagues.”
With lawmakers traumatized, hundreds of members of the National Guard sleeping in congressional hallways and warnings from authorities about continued threats, suspicion and rumor are running rampant.
Besides, there is the threat of Covid-19, as members continue to contract the virus amid resistance among some Republican lawmakers to wearing masks.
Several members have tested positive for Covid-19 since the attack, including Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., 75, a cancer survivor, who blamed GOP colleagues for refusing to wear masks while sheltering in tight quarters during the attack. Other Democrats have made similar accusations.
“It’s very disturbing that [it’s] this combined threat — the threat from within and the threat from without,” said Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H.
A trio of GOP freshmen have drawn particular attention and concern from colleagues: Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
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