ALBANY — Rep. Claudia Tenney, a freshman Republican from suburban Utica, has forwarded a threatening email to Capitol Police in the wake of Wednesday morning’s shooting at a Congressional baseball practice.
“One down, 216 to go,” reads the email, which references the number of House seats required to have a majority. “Did you NOT expect this? When you take away ordinary peoples very lives in order to pay off the wealthiest among us, your own lives are forfeit. Certainly, your souls and morality were lost long before. Good riddance.”
The message came just hours after a shooting that wounded Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, as well as members of his security detail, a congressional aide and a lobbyist. The shooter has been identified as James Hodgkinson of Illinois, who had supported Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid and had made partisan statements on social media. President Donald Trump announced that Hodgkinson has died.
Tenney’s office said it often “regularly” receives threatening emails and social media replies, but that “today’s message was particularly disheartening following this morning’s tragic events.”
“The level of discourse in politics today is truly unfortunate,” Tenney’s office stated. “Our nation was founded on the principle of free speech, and it’s vitally important that we have a robust debate on the issues. However, protections under the first amendment do not extend to violence.”
Tenney was elected in 2016 and succeeded Rep. Richard Hanna, a fellow Republican. Tenney had previously challenged Hanna from his right, and has taken more conservative stances in office. Tenney supported Trump; Hanna announced he had voted for Hillary Clinton.
Other members of New York’s House delegation condemned the shooting and called for more civility. Rep. Chris Collins, a Republican from suburban Buffalo, said he would begin carrying a pistol at public events.
Democrats, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, have said Tenney is one of six Republicans they hope to oust in the mid-term elections.