Members of the Los Angeles area congressional delegation found themselves barricaded in their offices and other locations today as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress prepared to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election.
"I have been safely evacuated from the Capitol to a secure location and am sheltering in place," Rep. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) said on Twitter. His district includes Boyle Heights, City Terrace, Cypress Park, Eagle Rock, El Sereno, Garvanza, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights, Monterey Hills, and Mount Washington.
Elsewhere, Gomez described the scene, saying, "Got stuck in the gallery, which is above the House Floor, for some time because people were trying to get in. Had to lay on the floor with about 30-50 of my colleagues. With gas mask in hand. But I'm safe."
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), whose district includes East Los Angeles, Tweeted in English and Spanish, "It's a tragic day in American history as we see Trump-supporting domestic terrorists surround & breach the Capitol building. My staff & I are secured & safe thanks to the courageous actions of the Capitol Police. Praying for the safety of everybody & the very soul of our nation."
Patrick Boland, spokesman for Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, declined to comment beyond saying, "Congressman Schiff is safe." Later, Schiff on Twitter said that "my staff and I are safe. Thanks to the Capitol Police. A violent mob won’t stop us from upholding our constitutional duty to certify the election."
In response to the attack on the Capitol, Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33) called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, a process that would remove Trump from office. Lieu said Trump "is detached from reality."
"This assault on our nation's Capitol is a coup attempt and all those involved should be prosecuted as such," he said.
Gomez also called out the attack on the voting process, Tweeting "many @HouseGOP and @SenateGOP members are trying to overthrow our election."
The unrest began shortly after Trump spoke to hundreds of supporters who gathered in Washington, D.C., on the day Congress was set to certify the Nov. 3 election results and proclaim Democrat Joe Biden as the victor.
Trump has vociferously insisted that voter fraud led to his defeat in the election, though his multiple legal challenges in various states have been rejected due to lack of evidence. Officials in states across the country, including the Republican election officials in the battleground state of Georgia, have flatly denied any impropriety in the election.
As Trump supporters marched through the streets of Washington, D.C., the group made its way to the Capitol complex, clashing with Capitol Police and ultimately breaching the building, entering the seat of Democracy without any security screening. The Senate and House chambers were cleared as police tried to restore order.
Trump took to Twitter in response to the insurrection, writing, "I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful," Trump wrote. "No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order - respect the law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!"
He later posted a video message urging people to leave the Capitol building, but continued to press his unfounded claims of election fraud and that the election was stolen from him.
"You have to go home now," he said. "We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don't want anybody hurt. ... There's never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us, from you and our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You're very special. ... Go home and go home in peace."
Back in California, dozens of Trump supporters rallied in downtown Los Angeles outside City Hall. Holding flags and carrying signs reading "Stop the Steal," members of the group stood along Spring Street while others circled the area in their vehicles.
Organizers of the event said 15 "patriotic organizations" were taking part in the demonstration "to demand the integrity and justice of the Nov. 3 election."
The gathering proceeded peacefully for most of the morning, but skirmishes began erupting around midday as counter-protesters gathered nearby. Los Angeles police, who earlier reported that the protest was being held peacefully, began showing up in large numbers. Police declared an unlawful assembly, ordering the crowd to disperse. Although video from the scene showed at least two people were seen in handcuffs, police said no one had been arrested as of early afternoon.
The anti-Trump group Refuse Fascism held a protest of its own in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon, unfurling a banner over the Harbor (110) Freeway at Seventh Street, proclaiming, "Trump Lost! Fascists Get Out!"
Additional material by The Eastsider staff.
I have been safely evacuated from the Capitol to a secure location and am sheltering in place. https://t.co/wyNGfUxjUg— Rep. Jimmy Gomez (@RepJimmyGomez) January 6, 2021
Es un día trágico en la historia de EE.UU. cuando vemos a terroristas domésticos que apoyan a Trump rodear y violar el edificio del Capitolio. Mi personal y yo estamos seguros y salvo gracias a la Policía del Capitolio. Rezo por la seguridad de todos y el alma de nuestra nación.— Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (@RepRoybalAllard) January 6, 2021
It's a tragic day in American history as we see Trump-supporting domestic terrorists surround & breach the Capitol building. My staff & I are secured & safe thanks to the courageous actions of the Capitol Police. Praying for the safety of everybody & the very soul of our nation.— Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (@RepRoybalAllard) January 6, 2021