*House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Wednesday that at least 10 of his Democratic colleagues feel that they are at risk of harm for voting in favor of the new health care bill and have sought extra police protection.
[Scroll down to view a related report from Tuesday’s “Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC] .
Also, the Maryland Democrat hinted Wednesday that Republicans should do more to condemn these threats of violence.
“I would hope that we would join together jointly and make it very clear that none of us condone this kind of activity,” Hoyer told reporters. [Watch video below.] “And when we see it, we speak out strongly in opposition to it. And I would hope that we would do that going forward.” [Story continues below.]
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the majority whip, said Democrats and Republicans should continue to speak out on these threats. “Silence gives consent,” Clyburn said.
However, Minority Leader John Boehner has already condemned threats of violence — and sought to explain why people are so angry. “I know many Americans are angry over this health care bill, and that Washington Democrats just aren’t listening,” the Republican stated. “But, as I’ve said, violence and threats are unacceptable. That’s not the American way. We need to take that anger and channel it into positive change. Call your congressman, go out and register people to vote, go volunteer on a political campaign, make your voice heard — but let’s do it the right way.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Capitol Police and sergeant at arms briefed Democrats behind closed doors today about the incidents of violence — the most high profile of which have been toward Democratic Reps. Thomas Perriello of Virginia, Steve Driehaus of Ohio and Louise Slaughter of New York.
On Wednesday, the FBI began a preliminary investigation into fuel lines cut at the Virginia home of Perriello’s brother, whose address was posted online. A tea party participant published on a right-leaning blog what he thought was Rep. Perriello’s home address and urged disgruntled voters to “drop by” for a “good face-to-face chat.”
Vandals broke windows at Slaughter’s office in New York and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s office in Arizona. Slaughter, a Democrat who chairs the House Rules Committee, said a caller to her office last week vowed to send snipers to “kill the children of the members who voted yes.” Her office reported the call to police, who were dispatched to provide protection for Slaughter’s grandchildren. She has also been in touch with the FBI and U.S. Postal Service inspectors, who intercepted a letter en route to her home in upstate New York.
Sen. Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democrat whose last-minute compromise on abortion guaranteed passage of the bill Sunday, said callers have left messages for him saying, “You’re dead; we know where you live; we’ll get you.”
And angry voters are planning to protest this weekend at the home of Steve Driehaus — who’s already seen a photograph of his children used in a newspaper ad published by reform opponents.
The group called the Committee to Rethink Reform used a photo of him and his two young daughters in an ad urging him to vote against any health care reform bill that included federal funding for abortion. Both the group and the newspaper — the Cincinnati Enquirer — apologized for including Driehaus’s daughters in the ad.
Fellow Ohio congressman Boehner, who warned that anti-abortion Democrats would suffer politically if they voted for the health care bill, singled out Driehaus, saying he “may be a dead man” and “can’t go home to the west side of Cincinnati” because “the Catholics will run him out of town.”
“Mr. Boehner made comments about me and my predicament when I go home which I felt were wildly out of bounds for his position and very irresponsible, quite frankly. He’s from next door. That’s not helpful. That’s irresponsible,” Driehaus said.
Meanwhile, Sarah Palin posted a map on her Facebook page that shows the 20 districts represented by House Democrats who voted for health care reform – each marked by a bulls eye image.
In her Twitter posting directing followers to the page, she stated: “Commonsense “Conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!”
African American political activist organization Color of Change is also calling on readers to stand up against the Tea Party-led attacks by “confronting Republican leadership and forcing them to take responsibility for the atmosphere they’ve helped create.”
Below, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reports on the violent incidents against Democrats in a segment of her Tuesday broadcast.