Senate sergeant-at-arms said political rhetoric is a ‘key driver’ in the uptick in threats against lawmakers

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  • The Senate sergeant-at-arms told CNN political rhetoric is driving an uptick in threats against US lawmakers.
  • Karen Gibson, the Senate’s top law enforcement officer, said the threats began rising in 2020.
  • “There are continued threats, unfortunately, against a number of elected officials,” she said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Karen Gibson, the Senate sergeant-at-arms, said that political rhetoric contributes to the increased threats that continue to be made towards US lawmakers.

In an interview with CNN’s Pamela Brown that aired Sunday, Gibson said there has been a distinct uptick in threats aimed at lawmakers that began in 2020, predating the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

Brown asked how much political rhetoric has contributed to that rise in threats.

“I think political rhetoric is a key driver of some of the anger that Americans feel, across the political spectrum, towards elected officials,” Gibson said.

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She that because that rhetoric continues “there are continued threats, unfortunately, against a number of elected officials.” She did not specify which members of Congress threats are commonly made against.

Gibson also said that while Americans have the right to express anger towards politicians, she is troubled by disinformation and “people who just cannot separate fact from fiction.”

“We all have a right to express our political opinion, and we have a right to express anger and frustration, not in a violent way, to those who’ve been elected to represent us,” she said. “I think what concerns me is a group of Americans that have fallen for some conspiracy theories and just some whacked-out ideas that are not based in fact.”

As Senate sergeant-at-arms, Gibson is the chief law enforcement officer in the Senate.

Gibson, who was appointed to the role in March, is a retired military intelligence officer.

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