The Capitol Police are still understaffed, but they're being inundated with more threats after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. According to documents requested by NBC News, the police unity will likely reach 9,000 total threats in 2021.
To put that in context, there were 8,600 threats in 2020, and in Donald Trump's first year in office, 2017, the Capitol police charted and investigated only 3,900 threats.
Federal officials have the benefits of several law enforcement agencies in Washington, D.C., but around the country, local officials don't enjoy such security.
NBC News pointed out that the attacks on Congress also reveal "The escalating security risks confronting public officials from the federal and state levels down to local school boards."
"I had one person call and say, 'This is the gun I'm going to use. I'm going to put three bullets in the back of his head,'" Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., NBC News cited an interview from last month on MSNBC. "You find yourself feeling uncomfortable sitting next to an open window in your home. And that's not something I ever thought I would have to think in this country."
It's unclear how dangerous the threats have become because so many of the elected officials in the U.S. of "a less prominent rung of public service that is nonetheless central to democracy — are reporting threats," said the report.
There have certainly been threats stemming from Trump's rage at his fellow Republicans, but Democrats experienced a threat increase as well.
"NBC News, in requests to nearly 70 state and local law enforcement agencies, sought records detailing any threats over the last year to 37 public officials," said the report. "The list included congressional Republicans who voted to impeach or convict Trump; Democrats who, like Neguse, served as impeachment managers; and high-profile governors and secretaries of state. Most agencies reported having no relevant documents or cited legal exemptions that prevent the disclosure of a public official's security concerns.
Some of the problems have come from the anti-vaccine and anti-mask communities. Earlier this year the FBI thwarted a plot to kidnap and execute Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer because they were so furious over COVID-19 restrictions.
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) went public with his death threats after colleague Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) attacked him and other Republicans who voted for the infrastructure package. The recording he had from one of the threats went viral.
"They feel that they can say whatever they want to say and actually make threats against your life, because they're mad at the election results. What's distressing is … the reason that they believe this is that they've been lied to," said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Republicans haven't made a habit of condemning the threats and attacks. After Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) posted an assassination fantasy video, he should have received a visit from Secret Service or the FBI. All but two Republicans were even willing to state publicly that assassination threats aren't acceptable.
Republicans have been dodging public view after the Jan. 6 attacks. Typically officials have town hall meetings with constituents, allowing the public to ask questions or complain about votes the member has taken. Officials could very easily do virtual town hall meetings online or via conference call, yet they haven't been happening.
The report even cited the Congressional Management Foundation, which helps officials engage with constituents, told members that they're doing so at their own security risk.
"I will give you an anecdote that was very chilling that happened to me recently when I was doing a training for some new interns coming to Capitol Hill," said the group's CEO Bradford Fitch. "Normally, the question you get is, 'Hey, where are the receptions where the free food is at?' Instead, the question I got was, 'I just did my training for answering the phones, and my chief of staff wants me in cases where we get death threats to try to get the person calling to give us their name. You have any advice on how I do that?'"