- Rep. Pramila Jayapal says former President Trump's rhetoric encourages violence against Congress members.
- Jayapal released voicemails on Thursday that included threats to "go back to India."
- Capitol Police data shows that threats to members of Congress have increased 144% since 2017.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who was harassed and threatened outside her home by a man with a gun, says the increase in threats to Congressional members is linked to rhetoric about the 2020 election by former President Donald Trump and other members of the GOP.
In July, an armed man was arrested and charged with felony stalking after camping outside Jayapal's neighborhood and threatening her. One neighbor told police she heard the man shout: "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 connections between stolen election rhetoric and the increased threats that Congressional members are facing.
"I think that what has changed is there's a sense 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 is an extremely dangerous thing. And we saw it come to fruition on January 6, and now in ways that you know, I've seen outside my door."
On Thursday, Jayapal released voicemails of threats against her and her family. The person in the recording tells Jayapal she is going to get "exactly what you deserve" and tells her to "go back to India."
"Typically, political figures don't show their vulnerability," Jayapal wrote. "I chose to do so here because we cannot accept violence as our new norm. We also cannot accept the racism and sexism that underlies and propels so much of this violence."
Threats to lawmakers in congress have increased by 144% since 2022, according to Capitol Police data shared with Axios. In the first three months of 2022, nearly 2,000 threats made to Congress members resulted in the Capitol Police opening cases.
Congress members like California Rep. Eric Swalwell and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who is on the House Committee Investigating Jan. 6, have also released threatening voicemails targeting them and their families.
In a Washington Post profile released Thursday, Jayapal recounted her experiences dealing with harassing and threatening voicemails. She said she often wanted to hide the threats because she didn't want people to know how they emotionally affected her.
"But at the same time," Jayapal told the Post, "it's important people understand how ubiquitous this is, and how much a part of our psyche it is taking up."