Threats of harm come with the job, Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly says
PHOENIX – U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona is new to the job, but he isn’t surprised he and his congressional colleagues are receiving threats three weeks after thousands of rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
A federal agency issued a terrorism bulletin this week warning of the potential for more politically-motivated violence from American extremists.
“Most of us right now are getting some kind of threat one way or the other. It’s expected,” freshman Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) said Thursday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.
The Department of Homeland Security did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment” across the United States that it believes “will persist” for weeks after President Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
Supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, seeking to overturn the election. Five people were killed.
“When I decided to serve my country again by running for the U.S. Senate, I knew what I was getting myself into more than anybody else,” Kelly said.
Kelly, a former Navy pilot and astronaut, was referring to the 2011 attempted assassination of his wife, Gabrielle Giffords, who was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives for Arizona.
Giffords was shot in the head and nearly died while hosting a public event in Tucson. Six people were killed and 18 others were injured that day in January.
“I feel safe,” Kelly said. “There’s National Guard doing a great job, Capitol Police … they’re great individuals that really care about our country and care about protecting the Capitol.”
The department was criticized for its handling of the attack. Rioters broke through barriers and got inside the building during Congress’ official certification of electoral votes.
They ransacked offices and destroyed property. Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the siege.
Wednesday’s alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske.
“One concern I have is to what degree are various law enforcement organizations and even the military infested with people who want to function as domestic terrorists,” former CIA analyst Paul Kinsinger of Phoenix told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
“That’s an issue that several organizations are wrestling with as we’ve seen in the news since January 6.”
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross and the Associated Press contributed to this report.