WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Two congressional staff members are recovering after being attacked with a baseball bat at U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly’s office on Monday. The assault is now part of a conversation about beefing up security at a time when political violence is dramatically increasing.
“Very shocking and I think it’s going to take a long time to recover from,” Connolly said.
Connolly and his team are still reeling after the violent attack at their Virginia office. While investigators look for a motive, Connolly says lawmakers have other questions.
“I think it exposes the vulnerability of a lot of district offices all over the country,” Connolly said. “I was mobbed by colleagues last night on the floor, commiserating and also expressing concern about their own staffs.”
Last October, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked with a hammer inside their San Francisco home. In February, Rep. Angie Craig was assaulted in a Washington, D.C. apartment elevator.
Lawmakers from both parties have condemned the various attacks.
“There’s no room for political violence in our country,” Rep. Bryan Steil said.
Over the past six years, Capitol Police say threats against members of Congress have jumped by 400%.
Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger expressed concern about that number growing.
“Upcoming conventions, upcoming elections and the increasingly heated political rhetoric further heighten the prospect of future security risks,” Manger said.
At a hearing on Tuesday, lawmakers talked about how to prevent future political violence.
“The incident underscores how important it is the Capitol Police have the resources they need to protect us,” Rep. Joe Morelle said.
Chief Manger says his department needs more funding and more officers to expand protection.
“We’ve got to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to ensure the safety and security of members while they’re not just here in D.C., but when they’re at home,” Manger said.