Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger on Tuesday issued a rare public call for more resources to protect lawmakers following the assault of Paul Pelosi.
“We believe today’s political climate calls for more resources to provide additional layers of physical security for Members of Congress,” Manger said in a lengthy statement that also confirms the department’s plans for a review of the home invasion at Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco residence.“This plan would include an emphasis on adding redundancies to the measures that are already in place for Congressional leadership,” Manger added. He declined to disclose further details about the improvements, citing the risk posed by “bad actors.”
Federal and local prosecutors filed separate charges Monday against David DePape, 42, the alleged assailant of 82-year-old Paul Pelosi. DePape is accused of breaking into the Pelosi home early Friday morning and assaulting the speaker’s husband, leaving him hospitalized. DePape told San Francisco police after the attack he planned to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage and would break her kneecaps if she “lied” to him.
Paul Pelosi was hospitalized due to the attack, and a Monday evening statement from Nancy Pelosi cited a potentially “long recovery process for her husband.”
Increasing resources for Capitol Police would likely require congressional approval. A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday that congressional leaders would explore “every option available” in terms of a legislative response.
That could include adding lawmaker protections to a judicial privacy bill that’s already expected to be included in the annual defense policy package. The measure in its current form would allow federal judges to scrub their personal information like addresses and phone numbers from the internet, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — who was attacked outside his home in 2017 — had been pushing to extend those protections to members of Congress.
“The attack on Paul Pelosi will hopefully draw bipartisan support to my years-long push to protect the addresses of members of Congress,” the Kentucky Republican said in a statement to POLITICO.
Threats to lawmakers have been on the rise for years, exacerbated by the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. After the attempted insurrection, police opened two field offices in California and Florida designed to address, investigate and potentially assist prosecute violent threats to lawmakers.
Andrew Desiderio contributed reporting.