Republican buying body armour amid reports of death threats for Trump impeachment vote

'It's sad that we have to get to that point but our expectation is that someone may try to kill us’

Justin Vallejo
New York
Thursday 14 January 2021 21:52 GMT
Republican who voted to impeach buying body armor amid threats

A House Republican who voted to impeach Donald Trump said he is buying body armour, hiring armed security and altering his routine following reports that death threats prevented more Republicans from voting with the Democrats.

Michigan's Peter Meijer, who was one of 10 GOP representatives to turn against Mr Trump, told MSNBC he was taking "appropriate measures" to ensure the safety of his family.

"It's sad that we have to get to that point but our expectation is that someone may try to kill us," he said.

When asked by host Hallie Jackson directly if he was purchasing a bulletproof vest, altering his route and surrounding himself with armed security, the newly-minted Congressman said: "I am".

"We're obviously trying to keep a very low profile," he said.

“That’s something we’re all kind of working together because obviously, we saw what happened on January 6, and the fact that there are 20,000 National Guardsmen in DC right now, there is a feeling that there is not control here and we don’t know what’s going to happen next,” he added.

“We weren’t expecting for the Capitol to get overrun for the first time in 200 years, and so in this unprecedented environment with this unprecedented fear of divisiveness and hatred, we have to account for every scenario."

Mr Meijer is the first of the 10 House Republicans to publicly speak on the threats of violence.

He was joined in his vote to impeach Mr Trump by Liz Cheney, of Wyoming, John Katko, of New York, Adam Kinzinger, of Illinois, Anthony Gonzalez, of Ohio, Tom Rice, of South Carolina, David Valadao, of California, Fred Upton, of Michigan, and Jamie Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse, both from Washington.

None have yet made public statements about threats of violence, but privately it has been reported that several GOP representatives suggested more would have voted in favour to impeach the president if not for fear of reprisals.

Before the vote, Politico reported that several members wanted to impeach the president but death threats made them fearful "casting that vote could get them or their families murdered".

The Hill also confirmed anonymously that at least three GOP representatives in Congress received death threats from both Republican and Democrat party members since the vote the challenge the Electoral College results.

While some argued the threats could influence the vote, others said the bipartisan nature of the threats meant they wouldn't influence the outcome.

“No. Most people are getting them from both sides. And I’d like to think they have the courage to do what they think is right regardless. I know I will,” one lawmaker told The Hill.

It came after Democrat Congressman Jason Crow said on MSNBC his Republican colleagues were "paralysed with fear" for their lives if they voted to impeach.

 "Welcome to the club, that's leadership, our country is in a very challenging time, many of us have felt that way for a long time because we've stood up for our democracy and we expect them to do the same," he told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd.

Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said being fearful of death threats were a sign of their "privilege" if this was their first time.

"Sorry if this lacks empathy, but it’s a privilege if this is their first time. They can do one vote," she said in a tweet.

"If any GOP need advice on how to deal with it, they can call me," she added.

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