Pelosi told reporters she thinks Congress will need to provide money “for more security for members, when the enemy is within the House of Representatives, a threat that members are concerned about.”
The comments were a reaction to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and subsequent security measures to protect lawmakers.
Asked to clarify what she meant, Pelosi said, “It means that we have members of Congress who want to bring guns on the floor and have threatened violence on other members of Congress.”
During an appearance Friday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” Gabbard — a Democrat who decided not to seek reelection to the House when she ran for president in 2020 — said it was “incredibly dangerous” for Pelosi to speak like that when the country is “on edge” and divided.
“This kind of broad, inflammatory rhetoric is like throwing a match into the tinderbox,” she said.
“What Speaker Pelosi is talking about is a very serious thing. If there is evidence to back what she is saying … is true, this is a legal issue for law enforcement.”
Gabbard said that while she was in the House, an individual repeatedly made threats on her life, and law enforcement summarily indicted and convicted the suspect.
“What Nancy Pelosi is talking about is a crime of terroristic threatening — and if true should be reported to law enforcement. Members of Congress are not above the law,” she said.
Host Laura Ingraham asked Gabbard if Pelosi was being intentionally inciteful.
“If you think there is someone among the Republican caucus plotting the murder of Nancy Pelosi or other members of Congress, that could then bring violence upon those individuals,” she said.
“That’s the issue here. If this is a [criminal threat], let law enforcement deal with it,” Gabbard responded. “If there is no evidence of what she is talking about, it is inciting further division and further harm potentially and further destroying the possibility of our country coming together.”
“This is why it’s so important for Nancy Pelosi — if these accusations are baseless — she needs to apologize — not so much to her colleagues but to the American people who right now, more than ever, need leadership coming from the speaker of the House, who represents all members of Congress and the American people to bring us together.”
She called on Pelosi and President Biden to instead denounce forces seeking to undermine civil liberties and inflame political and social tensions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.