A New Hampshire man was arrested and charged with threatening to kill an unnamed US senator.
On Friday, the US attorney’s office for the district of New Hampshire announced that Brian Landry, 66, was charged with threatening to assault, kidnap or murder the senator, “in connection with the official’s performance of official duties”.
The charges carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine up to $250,000.
According to the official statement, Landry called a district field office for the senator on 17 May, leaving a voicemail saying: “Hey stupid. I’m a veteran sniper. And unless you change your ways, I got my scope pointed in your direction and I’m coming to get you. You’re a dead man walking, you piece of fucking shit.”
Investigators linked the phone call to a number associated with Landry. He admitted calling the office but said he did not recall what he said.
Court documents reviewed by NBC revealed that in an interview at Landry’s home on 24 May, he “informed [investigators] that he is extremely angry with certain politicians over their handling of important entitlement programs for veterans”.
Landry also said he was upset “after seeing news reports of a lawmaker ‘blocking military promotions’”, NBC reported.
The Republican senator Tommy Tuberville, from Alabama, is blocking the promotions of around 200 civilian and uniformed Pentagon leaders.
Tuberville opposes a Pentagon policy that pays for service members to travel to obtain abortions and also offers three weeks of administrative leave.
In March, the US defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, criticized Tuberville for blocking the nominations, which he said were “absolutely critical”.
“There are a number of things happening globally that indicate that we could be in a contest on any one given day,” Austin said. “Not approving the recommendations for promotions actually creates a ripple effect through the force that makes us far less ready than we need to be.”
The Democratic Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, also called out Tuberville, saying his delay of the nominations, including for commanders of the US naval forces in the Pacific and Middle East, was “reckless” and could not come at a “worse time”.
The charges against Landry reflect growing concern among lawmakers amid a spike in political violence.
According to a survey last summer, one in five American adults, approximately 50 million people, think political violence is sometimes justified.
Last July, the House sergeant at arms announced that congressmen and women would receive $10,000 to upgrade security at their homes.
In October, in San Francisco, the husband of the former House speaker Nancy Pelosi was attacked by a man with a hammer.
In November, Joe Biden urged Americans to take a stand against political violence, calling on the public to “preserve democracy”.