Chief J. Thomas Manger, the new chief of the United States Capitol Police, says lawmakers have never been at greater risk of threats against their lives, noting that officers “cannot afford to be complacent.”
We have never had the level of threats against members of Congress that we’re seeing today,” Manger told The Associated Press. “Clearly, we’ve got a bigger job in terms of the protection aspect of our responsibilities, we’ve got a bigger job than we used to.”
Officers have responded to over 4,100 reports of threats against members of Congress in the first three months of 2021, Manger said. He predicts there will be roughly 9,000 threats by the end of 2021.
Capitol Police have beefed up security since the January 6 Capitol riot, the day a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the United States Capitol on the false premise that the election had been stolen. The recent “Justice for J6” rally was the first real test of Manger’s tenure since he was sworn into his role in July. (The rally turned out to be a bust, with only about 100 attendees.)
“We just were in a position where we could not allow another January 6th,” Manger said to the AP. “And I really needed to ensure that the men and women of the Capitol Police department understood that we had the resources we need, the training that we needed, the equipment that we needed, and the staffing that we needed to ensure that they could do their job and do it safely.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.