Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine warned about increasing violent threats against lawmakers in an interview with The New York Times.
The Republican senator spoke about her concerns in the wake of a man smashing a brick through her home in Bangor, Maine, and as political figures like Donald Trump and his supporters deploy increasingly incendiary language.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if a senator or House member were killed,” she said. “What started with abusive phone calls is now translating into active threats of violence and real violence.”
The threat against Ms Collins came amid escalating threats against lawmakers. In 2018, after she voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, she received a message that featured a beheading.
“We will c-t off your l-mbs and sl-ce off yo-r faces. We will t-ar out your tongues and dism-mber your org-as and sl-t your thro-ts while you watch,” one letter read.
As a result, three people are in jail and a few are waiting some kind of action for threats against her.
“There’s been a sea change in that we now see this constant escalation and erosion of any boundaries of what is acceptable behavior, and it has crossed over into actual violence,” she said.
But Ms Collins is far from the only member of Congress to experience violent threats. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is one of the most threatened members of Congress and has said the process to receive more support from US Capitol Police has been inconsistent.
Specifically, she noted how the department flagged a tweet that was threatening.
“When I saw what it was, I was like, ‘I’ve gotten so much worse,” she told The Times. “Why now?”
Party leaders reportedly told her that she receives more threats than any other member except House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
As a result, Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s team makes a document of men who threatened her so they can avoid or report them.