A provision in the government funding package working its way through Congress ahead of a December 23 deadline would provide added security to former Speakers of the House — just in time for Nancy Pelosi to step down from the speakership.
There have been many revelations and discussions about the security provided — and lack thereof — to government officials who are not the president since the October 28 attack on Paul Pelosi inside the Pelosis' San Francisco home. The latest this week comes from U.S. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger in an interview with CNN, revealing that the Pelosis' home had not undergone a security review by Capitol Police since 2018.
Manger says that such a review is now taking place and that the home will receive tighter security attention in the future. But that is cold comfort to Paul Pelosi, who continues recovering from a skull fracture at the hands of a politically motivated assailant.
This week, Congress is set to pass the latest bill to fund the federal government, and it includes a provision that will provide security from Capitol Police to former speakers for up to a year after leaving office. As the Chronicle reports, the provision also allows for continued security beyond one year and indefinitely if a threat assessment deems it necessary.
Nancy Pelosi has been the subject of a large portion of the threats leveled against lawmakers in recent years. According to a letter to Capitol Police from Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), obtained by CNN, Pelosi was threatened 632 times in 2021 — or 6% of all threat cases overseen by Capitol Police. 24 of those threats were referred to the Justice Department for potential prosecution, Lofgren said.
Manger tells CNN that Capitol Police have seen 9,000 threat cases so far this year, and they saw 9,625 in 2021 — a huge leap from the 3,939 they handled during Trump's first year in office in 2017.
"The level of violence in our country directed toward political officials, government officials, it’s really at a point where I think that it’s as dangerous as it’s ever been to be an elected official," Manger tells CNN.
In the days following the attack on Paul Pelosi, we learned that while Capitol Police had cameras at the Pelosi home that they were remotely monitoring, officers watching those cameras did not alert to anything being wrong until an SFPD cruiser appeared in the home's driveway.
Another high-profile Democratic congressperson who has been the subject of much vitriol in right-wing media and social media circles, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has been paying for her own private security in the absence of Capitol Police resources. The New York Post reported on a $4,000 security bill Ocasio-Cortez paid back in July 2021. And almost a month before the Pelosi attack, Ocasio-Cortez told the New York Times that her office was fielding an "astronomical" number of daily threats on her life.
In one instance, she said a man had flow across the country in order to sit in a cafe across the street from her Queens office and then confront her in person when she stepped outside.
Senator Susan Collins, who had a window smashed at her Bangor, Maine home by an unknown assailant, told the Times, "I wouldn’t be surprised if a senator or House member were killed. What started with abusive phone calls is now translating into active threats of violence and real violence."
Speaker Pelosi, while she will be stepping down from her leadership role in the next Congress, says she plans to continue serving as San Francisco's representative in the House, despite rumors that she may retire before her two-year term is up.
Top image: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her husband Paul unveil her portrait during an unveiling ceremony in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol on December 14, 2022 in Washington, DC. Pelosi’s portrait is an oil painting on canvas and painted by Ronald Sherr. Speaker Pelosi recently announced her intent to step down from leadership in the House Democratic Caucus for the 118th schedule and is in the last couple weeks of her tenure as Speaker of the House. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)