“Potentially threatening” phone calls have been made to the district and Capitol Hill offices of Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), and the Capitol Police have begun an investigation.
The calls arose, Clarke said in a statement posted to her website Thursday, after a conservative website posted comments Clarke made criticizing the tea party movement for contributing to a polarized political environment in Washington. Clarke said her comments were taken out of context.
“While I respect the views of the American people, our office takes any threat seriously. We don’t underestimate any potential threat,” Clarke said in her statement. She released no specifics about what the callers said.
TheBlaze.com, Clarke said, posted footage from her April address to the Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform in which she spoke of alleged instances of bigotry and intolerance by tea party supporters.
The website notes that “the video cuts together several different statements from Clark about the tea party to make them appear to be one coherent whole.”
Clarke contends the footage sparked a flood of angry calls — including some that verged on threatening.
“Know that I find it extremely disappointing that my words were edited and removed from context,” Clarke continued.
In one clip, Clarke said, “When I first encountered the tea party, I thought, ‘Oh, these people are crazy’ ... You know what? Crazy showed up. And not only did crazy show up, crazy elected 39 people to the House of Representatives.”
Clarke maintains that she stands by her statements that some behavior by tea party members has contributed to a hostile political atmosphere.
“While I do not believe all tea party members subscribe to the thinking that resulted in these incidents, the bad actions of a few affected the reputation of the organization,” she said.
This is the second lawmaker this week to have alerted Capitol Police to threats waged against them.
On Wednesday, Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly Schneider confirmed that Capitol Police and Florida law enforcement were investigating a threat made Tuesday against Sen. Marco Rubio (R) at his home in Miami.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.