House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said House members can pay for additional security measures with their congressional allowances, and that the House would likely need to pass additional funding for member safety due to “the enemy is within the House of Representatives.”
“So we want to have a scientific approach to how we protect members,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference Thursday. “I do believe and I have said this all along we will probably need a supplemental for more security for members when the enemy is within the House of Representatives, a threat that members are concerned about in addition to what is happening outside.”
“It shouldn’t be that not only is the president of the United States inciting an insurrection, but keeps fanning the flame endangering the security of members of Congress, to the point that they’re even concerned about members in the House of Representatives being a danger to them,” she added.
Asked what she meant by “the enemy is within,” the House Speaker said, “it means that we have members of Congress who want to bring guns on the floor and have threatened violence on other members of Congress.”
Pelosi did not clarify which lawmakers she was referencing.
The speaker’s comments came in response to a question regarding more than 30 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Pelosi and House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) requesting to use their congressional allowances to enhance their personal safety in their home districts and hire local law enforcement or other security personnel.
“While the U.S. Capitol is protected by the United States Capitol Police with the support of strong security measures, including vehicle barriers and metal detectors, most Members spend the majority of their time in their Congressional Districts where security is often sparse,” the letter reads. “Protecting Members in their District is much harder because local law enforcement agencies are stretched and limited, and often don’t have sufficient staffing or money to provide regular protection to Members. Except for Leadership, Members do not have security details protecting them.”
Thursday’s letter took issue with existing rules regarding the rules governing member allowance use, describing the protocols as “constrictive and anachronistic, set in a time before the current.”
Pelosi said she will meet later Thursday with retired Lieutenant General Russel Honoré to receive an initial assessment. The House Speaker appointed Honoré to conduct a security review of the Capitol in the wake of the Capitol attacks and is also studying House member security both in Washington, D.C. as well as their districts and transportation in between.
“First of all, I appreciate the letter from the members but most of the questions, items on the list, have already been done,” Pelosi said. “Perhaps they were not aware, and I take responsibility for them not being aware.”
Pelosi also denounced House Republican leaders for their handling of a controversial GOP freshman, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and giving the lawmaker a seat on the House Education and Labor Committee in light of previous assertion that school shootings were “false-flag” operations.
“What could they be thinking — or is thinking too generous a word about what they might be doing?” Pelosi said. “It’s absolutely appalling, and I think the focus has to be on the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives for the disregard they have for the deaths of those children.”
The Georgia Republican has drawn fury from across the House Democratic Caucus, but that anger grew far more intense in recent days, after CNN and a liberal watchdog group Media Matters uncovered Facebook posts in which Greene pushed conspiracy theories or “liked” posts that challenged the accuracy of mass shootings at schools in Newtown, Connecticut, and Parkland, Florida.
House Education Committee Chair Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) took the unusual step of denouncing Greene’s appointment to his committee, citing her offensive comments about mass school shootings.
“House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy must explain how someone with this background represents the Republican party on education issues,” Scott said in a scathing statement posted on the House Education Committee Thursday.
A spokesman for McCarthy told Axios in a statement the posts from Greene were “deeply disturbing” and said McCarthy “plans to have a conversation with the Congresswoman about them.”
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the posts “disgusting,” adding that they have “no place in our party” and “should be looked into.”
Meanwhile, Democrats are planning to use Greene as a campaign issue in 2022 by trying to tie the entire Republican party to QAnon.
“Minority Leader McCarthy and NRCC Chair Tom Emmer have not only caved to the mob and welcomed QAnon conspiracist Marjorie Taylor Green into their caucus, they’re putting her front and center as a key player,” DCCC spokesperson Brooke Goren said. “Americans have died at the hand of the QAnon mob, now vulnerable House Republicans will have to answer for that violence.”
Some Democrats, however, are taking the matter into their own hands and ratcheting up efforts to ex-communicate Greene. Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) announced Wednesday night that he was introducing a privileged resolution to expel Greene from Congress because of her past social media activity.
However, an expulsion of a House member would require two-thirds support in the House, making it highly unlikely that it will succeed. Still, it will force every single lawmaker, including members of GOP leadership, to go on the record when it comes to Greene.