Rep. Pramila Jayapal says Trump’s rhetoric is fueling the rise in threats against congressmen after a gunman came to her home shouting ‘go back to India, I’m going to kill you’


Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wa.) at her home on Tuesday, August 16, 2022 in Seattle, WashJovelle Tamayo/ for The Washington Post via Getty Images

  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal says former President Trump’s rhetoric encourages violence against congressmen.

  • Jayapal released voicemails Thursday threatening to “go back to India.”

  • Capitol Police data shows that threats against members of Congress have increased by 144% since 2017.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who was harassed and threatened by a man with a gun outside her home, says the increase in threats against members of Congress is linked to rhetoric about the 2020 election by former President Donald Trump and other members of the GOP.

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In July, an armed man was arrested and charged with stalking after camping outside Jayapal and threatening her. A neighbor told police she heard the man yelling, “Go back to India, I’m going to kill you.”

Jayapal told MSNBC’s Ali Velshi on Saturday that she wanted people to understand the connection between stolen election rhetoric and the increased threats faced by congressmen.

“I think what’s changed is the feeling that everything is so unfair and it’s been propelled by Donald Trump,” Jayapal said. “‘The institutions are unfair,’ and that the only recourse is to violence and that’s an extremely dangerous thing. And we saw it come to fruition on January 6, and now in ways you know I’ve seen outside my door.” “

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On Thursday, Jayapal released voicemails with threats against her and her family. The person in the recording tells Jayapal that she “gets exactly what you deserve” and tells her to “go back to India”.

‘Normally political figures don’t show their vulnerability’ Jaapal wrote. “I chose to do this here because we cannot accept violence as our new norm. Nor can we accept the racism and sexism that underlies and propels so much of this violence.”

Threats to lawmakers in Congress have increased 144% since 2022, according to Capitol Police data shared with TBEN. In the first three months of 2022, nearly 2,000 threats against congressmen led the Capitol Police Department to open cases.

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Congressmen love California Rep. Eric Swalwell and Rep. Adam Kinzingerwho sits on the House Investigation Committee Jan. 6, also released threatening voicemails aimed at them and their families.

In a Washington Post profile released Thursday, Jayapal shared her experience with harassing and threatening voicemails. She said she often wanted to hide the threats because she didn’t want people to know how they affected her emotionally.

“But at the same time,” Jayapal told the Post, “it’s important for people to understand how ubiquitous this is and how much of a part of our psyche it takes up.”

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