The office of Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, said Tuesday that the longtime congresswoman has been the target of at least two recent death threats that are being investigated by Capitol Police detectives.
According to her office, a man from Kansas left a profane and racist message for Waters on Dec. 15 that included the words, “I got an AK47 and I’ll use it if I have to.”
On Feb. 8, a man from Mississippi called the congresswoman’s district office and left a similar message threatening Waters, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-San Francisco, according to her staff.
A statement from Waters’ office said the Capitol Police are investigating both the call from Kansas and Mississippi, along with a few other “menacing calls” made to her office within the past several weeks.
“The uptick in death threats against Congresswoman Waters began during former President Donald Trump’s term — including a threat made mere weeks before the Capitol attack, according to the statement, which alleges the threats “persist today due to his refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election and his ongoing, implicit support and encouragement of domestic terrorists in the United States.”
Waters has been the subject of multiple threats in recent years, some of which have resulted in convictions.
In January 2020, Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson of Maryland — a self-described white nationalist — was sentenced to more than 13 years in federal prison on weapons and drug charges. Hasson had been accused of plotting to kill Waters and other members of Congress, along with television anchors, but was not charged for those alleged threats, which were detailed by federal prosecutors in a court filing.
In August 2019, 57-year-old Cesar Sayoc of Florida was sentenced to 20 years in prison for mailing pipe bombs to top Democrats and Trump administration critics, including Waters.
In November 2018, 36-year-old Richard Mel Phillips of Florida pleaded guilty to leaving a voicemail message with Waters’ office threatening to kill her. Phillips was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2019 for threatening Waters and other members of Congress.
In July 2018, 45-year-old Anthony Scott Lloyd was sentenced to three years of probation for threatening to kill Waters over comments she made about Trump. The judge also ordered Lloyd not to have any contact with Waters — by any means.
Lloyd pleaded guilty in April 2018 to a single federal count of threatening a United States official. The charge carries a maximum possible sentence of 10 years behind bars, but both prosecution and defense agreed that a probationary sentence was appropriate.
In a letter filed with the court prior to sentencing, Waters said that while she appreciates that Lloyd pleaded guilty and expressed remorse, a lenient sentence would “only embolden others to engage in similar conduct.”
Lloyd should “be held accountable for his actions in a manner extending beyond probation,” the congresswoman wrote.
Lloyd made the threat during a phone call to Waters’ Capitol Hill office. He had become angered while listening to talk radio, when he heard a report in which Waters made disparaging comments about Trump, according to court papers.
“If you continue to make threats toward the president, you’re going to wind up dead, Maxine, ’cause we’ll kill you,” Lloyd said in a voicemail. He also used a racial slur — the N-word — to refer to Waters.