WASHINGTON ― A Republican congresswoman from New York said she received an email threat just hours after Wednesday morning’s shooting at a baseball field that wounded GOP Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and four others.
It read: “Do you NOT expect this? When you take away ordinary peoples very lives in order to pay off the wealthiest among us, your own lives are forfeit. Certainly, your souls and morality were lost long before. Good riddance.”
According to the screenshot, the email came from a constituent in Tenney’s central New York district, near Syracuse, though the sender’s name was blacked out. Tenney’s office has alerted Capitol police to the threat, her communications director, Hannah Andrews, told HuffPost.
When all of the House’s 435 seats are filled, whichever party holds at least 218 controls the chamber. But two seats are currently vacant, making 217 the number for a majority. The Republican House caucus currently numbers 239.
Tenney, 56, was elected to the House last November after serving in the New York State Assembly.
“Although our office receives threats like these regularly, today’s message was particularly disheartening following this morning’s tragic events,” Andrews wrote in an email. “The level of discourse in politics today is truly unfortunate. Our nation was founded on the principle of free speech, and it’s vitally important that we have a robust debate on the issues. However, protections under the first amendment do not extend to violence.”
Andrews also said that Tenney has received threats on her Facebook page.
Authorities are still unsure whether the assailant in Wednesday’s shooting intended to target Scalise, 51, who was one of several GOP lawmakers practicing at a field in Alexandria, Virginia, for Thursday’s annual congressional baseball game.
The suspected gunman, James Hodgkinson, 66, of Illinois was shot and killed by Capitol police officers who were part of Scalise’s security detail. The GOP leader was reported in critical condition after undergoing surgery. Also hit by the gunfire were a congressional staff member, a lobbyist and two Capitol police officers.
Tenney told Syracuse.com that she has faced security concerns in her district.
“I always feel safe here at the Capitol,” she said. “But when I’m back home in the district, not always. People always recognize me. There is a lot of angst, and unfortunately the dialogue and the protesters and the Resist movement has gotten very aggressive.”
Tenney was elected in a race that Democrats had targeted as a potential pickup.
In recent weeks, Tenney faced protests from some constituents over her support of the House GOP bill repealing the Affordable Care Act. Constituents also criticized her for not holding in-person town halls.
This article has been updated with comments from Tenney’s spokeswoman and to clarify the possible meaning of the subject line of the threatening email.