Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Thursday that his department will take a broad approach to domestic terrorism, realizing that it’s not just right-wing extremists who engage in the violence.
In a hearing on Capitol Hill, Mr. Mayorkas specifically mentioned the 2017 attack by a left-wing activist on Republican lawmakers practicing baseball at a field in Alexandria, Virginia. He said his department is aware that the threats come from across the ideological spectrum.
“We are ideology neutral,” he said. “We are focused on the connectivity to violence.”
The department earlier this month released the first national strategy to deal with domestic terrorism, checking off a promise of President Biden.
Democrats had demanded the strategy as a response to what they identify as a surge of right-wing violence, but Mr. Mayorkas said his department is not so much interested in the ideology as much as the violence.
In the 2017 attack on Republicans, James Hodgkinson shot Rep. Steve Scalise, a congressional aide, a lobbyist and a U.S. Capitol Police officer, all of whom survived.
Hodgkinson, who had been a volunteer for Sen. Bernard Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, was killed by police, who were at the field because Mr. Scalise, a GOP leader, was present. Lawmakers at the field said but for that, Hodgkinson’s attack could have turned into a slaughter.
The FBI had labeled the attack as “suicide by cop,” but under pressure from Capitol Hill earlier this year it reclassified the shooting as domestic terrorism.