Speaking on CNN, Representative Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) says he “totally understands” why his Republican colleague, Representative Anthony Gonzalez (Minn.) has chosen not to run for re-election amid security fears.
“There’s extremist chatter about kidnapping lawmakers. What is your fear when you hear that?,” CNN’s Brianna Keiler asked.
“We’re human beings. We have families. We happen to be in these positions of some responsibility,” Kildee said, noting that he “totally understands” Gonzalez’s decision. “But the idea that as a part of a political strategy there’d be threats of violence or kidnapping… this is intended to intimidate public officials to keep us from speaking up and saying the truth.”
Kildee proceeded to criticize Republican leadership for downplaying security concerns in the aftermath of the Capitol siege, with took place after a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the United States Capitol on the false premise that the election had been stolen.
“This is the United States of America,” he added. “This cannot continue. We need responsible people. I don’t like to be, but let’s face it: We need responsible Republican leaders to speak truth and put this down. They won’t do it because they somehow feel that this whipped-up sentiment will help them in the 2022 election.”
“My God,” he concluded, “if that’s how they’re going to try to win, what does that say about these leaders, these so-called leaders? It’s pathetic. It really is.”
You can hear Kildee’s remarks in the video below.
.@RepDanKildee "totally understands" why @RepAGonzalez is not seeking re-election over security fears. Now, DHS warns of new threats to lawmakers before the 'Justice for J6' rally. "This can't continue…we need responsible Republican leaders who are willing to speak truth." pic.twitter.com/8neA3NPQdi
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) September 17, 2021
Kildee’s remarks come after Gonzalez announced he would not run, saying he’s received numerous threats to his and his family’s safety after supporting the impeachment effort against former President Donald Trump.
“That’s one of those moments where you say, ‘Is this really what I want for my family when they travel, to have my wife and kids escorted through the airport?’” he said in reference to being met at the Cleveland airport by two uniformed police officers who were part of a beefed up security presence after the impeachment vote.
“Politically the environment is so toxic, especially in our own party right now,” he said of the GOP. “You can fight your butt off and win this thing, but are you really going to be happy? And the answer is, probably not.”
Gonzalez said he does not want “to be part of” any party that is “going to make Trump the center of fund-raising efforts and political outreach.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.