Greene’s office said Cirillo was arrested at a residence in Atlanta.
It is the second time this week that a member of Georgia’s congressional delegation reported troubling threats to authorities. Members of Congress have expressed concerns about safety, especially after a 2017 shooting while lawmakers practiced for a charity baseball game and after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Greene is one of the most recognizable and controversial members of Congress. She is a darling of the far-right wing of the Republican Party and often a villain among Democrats. She has been accused, even before she was elected to office in 2020, of making sometimes problematic statements about Democrats and liberal causes such as rights for people who are transgender.
Most recently, Greene has sparred with both Democrats and fellow conservatives over her efforts to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, because of comments Tlaib made last month during pro-Palestine protests. Greene also recently voted against emergency aid for Israel, saying she believed additional money hasn’t been justified and the U.S. has more pressing needs domestically.
Threats and vitriol toward Greene are common as a result of her high-profile and bombastic nature, but her staff believed the ones received Wednesday were particularly worrisome, especially since the calls were placed from a Georgia number.
“Threats to murder elected officials should never be tolerated,” Greene said in a statement after Thursday’s arrest. “It doesn’t matter your political affiliation, no one should threaten your life for doing the job you were sent by the people to do.”
Cirillo was arrested in Atlanta and has prior addresses in Macon, Florida and North Carolina, according to public records. Records show no convictions for violent crime, but he has faced several other lesser charges, including for driving under the influence and a vandalism charge more than a decade ago.
Greene said that she closed her district office in Rome as a precaution.
U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick sent staff in his Cumming office home on Tuesday after he said they received “serious threats of violence” at a time when he was leading efforts to censure Tlaib while also feuding with Greene.
McCormick, a first-term Republican who lives in Suwanee, said he reported the calls to Capitol Police, which has jurisdiction over members in Washington and their district offices. His office remains closed.
Security for lawmakers has been an increasing concern, particularly after the 2017 shooting during a practice session for a charity baseball game. Majority Leader Steve Scalise was among six people injured in that shooting.
Members’ spending on personal security skyrocketed after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol where supporters of then-President Donald Trump attempted to halt the counting of electoral votes.
Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman told members of the House Appropriations Committee in April 2021 that threats to members of Congress had nearly doubled in January and February of that year. By that time, total threats to lawmakers had already been on an upswing.
Editor Chris Joyner and staff writer Alexis Stevens contributed to this article.