The Capitol Police and the United States Air Marshals will be providing additional security to Members of Congress in the coming days, over concerns they could become targets ahead of Democrat Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Both agencies have received what they consider to be credible threats, Politico reports Monday, and join the National Parks Service in taking immediate action; on Monday the NPS announced that several Washington, D.C., landmarks, including the Washington Monument, will be closed to visitors until well after the Inauguration.
“Capitol security officials are escalating safety measures for members of Congress at airports after multiple incidents in which lawmakers have been verbally harassed as they travel to and from Washington,” the outlet reported. With Washington still on high alert, agents from the Capitol Police will be stationed at three regional airports through Inauguration Day to ‘assist with security coordination,'” per a memo Politico obtained over the weekend.
“Capitol Police will also be posted at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport around the Inauguration on Jan. 20 to further strengthen security,” Fox News adds.
In addition, Members of Congress are being encouraged to submit their travel itineraries to federal security agencies so that they can be protected in airports and on planes.
“The effort is the result of a partnership among the Sergeant-at-Arms, Capitol Police, the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority, and the United States Air Marshal, according to the notice,” Politico notes.
In recent days, at least two Republicans, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) became targets while traveling. Early last week, Romney was seen in a now-viral video being harassed by supporters of President Donald Trump while on a flight to Washington, D.C. The Trump supporters, who were traveling to a Wednesday rally that eventually became a riot and siege, heckled Romney on the plane and then confronted him personally in the airport.
Graham was shown, also in a viral video, being verbally harassed by Trump supporters as he walked through an airport late last week after he spoke out in support of confirming the results of the Electoral College, declaring Biden the winner of November’s presidential election.
The Capitol Police, particularly after last Wednesday’s riot at the United States Capitol, appear concerned that these incidents of harassment could give way to physical attacks in the lead up to Biden’s swearing-in ceremony, scheduled to take place on the Capitol steps on January 20th. And, as Politico notes, many Members of Congress, particularly those with lower profiles, do not have full-time security details.
“Graham, as a chairman and high-profile senator, has a security detail,” Politico says, “but many lawmakers, particularly in the House, do not. Several lawmakers have privately been raising concerns that they could be not just confronted verbally, but threatened in more dramatic fashion in the coming days and weeks.”