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Democratic congresswoman violently assaulted in her DC apartment building

By Sarah May on
 February 12, 2023

In alarming news out of the nation's capital this week, CNBC reported that Rep. Angie Craig (MN-02) was assaulted Thursday inside an elevator at her apartment building.

Though Craig reportedly suffered some bruising in the scuffle that ensued, she was said by her chief of staff to be “otherwise physically okay.”

Bizarre attack unfolds

The frightening scene began to transpire at roughly 7:15 a.m. when, as Craig explained to D.C. Metropolitan Police, the alleged assailant was spotted in the building's lobby exhibiting “erratic” behavior “as if he was under the influence of an unknown substance.”

Craig, observing the man's presence, wished him a good morning before entering the elevator on the way to her residence.

It was then that the suspect trailed her into the elevator, started to “randomly do pushups,” hit the congresswoman on the chin “with a closed fist,” and grabbed onto her neck.

The Minnesota Democrat used a cup of hot coffee to defend herself against the attack, which caused the suspect to flee and ultimately elude two responding officers who searched the structure's parking garage.

Random attack?

Craig, 50, is the first openly gay member of Congress to hail from the state of Minnesota, leaving some to wonder whether the incident was driven by political or ideological animus.

However, according to Craig's chief of staff, Nick Coe, there had been “no evidence” discovered to indicate that the attack was “politically motivated” in any way, CNBC added.

It also appeared that Craig's status as a federal lawmaker played no role in what occurred, with the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) saying in a statement to NBC News, “At this time, there is no indication that the congresswoman was targeted because of her position, however the case is still under investigation by both the [Metropolitan Police Department] and the USCP.

Those assertions appear to have been borne out by the fact that a homeless man named Kendrick Hamlin was subsequently arrested and charged with simple assault in the attack on Craig, as the New York Post reports.

“Tough as nails”

Though in the immediate aftermath of the attack, Craig's office asked for privacy on behalf of the congresswoman, it was apparent that in the hours that followed, she spoke with leaders in her party and swiftly turned her attentions to the business at hand.

As the Post noted, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D) offered comments after speaking with Craig, saying, “Angie is tough as nails – she immediately got back to work and voted on the House floor. I'm glad to have met with her this morning and hear she's doing well.”

Interestingly, not long after Craig survived the elevator attack, the Republican-led House voted to overturn a restructuring of the criminal code in Washington, D.C., one which had reduced maximum penalties for violent crimes such as robbery, burglary, and carjacking.

Craig was one of 31 Democrats who voted in support of the measure.

Spotlight on self-defense

The attack on Craig highlights the dangers of living in a high-crime urban center such as Washington, D.C, circumstances which lawmakers on the opposite side of the aisle from the Minnesota Democrat have cited in opposition to stricter gun control measures championed by the left.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (CO-03), for her part, has often described the concerns she has while walking the streets of the nation's capital – and sometimes even the halls of Congress – and explained why she believes so strongly in the right to carry a firearm for self-defense.

In a recent session of the House Natural Resources Committee in which a proposed rule banning weapons during panel sessions was debated, Boebert said with regard to her own gun, “I feel I need one everywhere here. There are often times we are harassed in the hallways. We walk alone.”

Boebert's comments echoed an argument she made back in late 2020, when she said, “I carry a firearm to protect myself and want to exercise my right to do so in one of the most dangerous cities in America,” and while it seems unlikely that a liberal Democrat such as Craig would be quick to agree, the attack she sustained this week may have at least provided some new food for thought.