Local officials decry assault on the Capitol

PHOTO: A large crowd of Trump supporters surround the Capitol building (Bilnk O’fanaye via Flickr).

By Iris Harshaw, Lauren Lee and Renee Xiang,

BlueDevilHUB.com Editors-in-Chief–

Earlier today, supporters of President Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington D.C., overrunning federal security and managing to breach the building with the intent to stop the U.S. Congress from verifying President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral win. 

A national outcry has erupted in response to the riots, with countless Americans condemning it as an act of domestic terrorism. Over 2,000 miles away from D.C., many citizens in Davis have been just as vocal and resolute in their pushback as those in the nation’s capital.

Sister District CA-3, a local political group that works to elect more Democratic representatives to Congress, invited U.S Rep. John Garamendi of California’s Third District to call into the group’s virtual meeting this evening. Taking a short break from House proceedings, Garamendi sat down and spoke briefly with the 70-plus volunteers to assure them of the actions being taken against the insurrection.

“Donald Trump took the ultimate step of trying to forcibly maintain his office. It was nothing but a forcible coup attempt, it is not going to succeed,” Garamendi said. “We’re going to put Donald Trump behind us. His continued effort to thwart and to subvert the American democracy will end in just 14 days. He’ll continue to be a loud voice, but I promise you this — he will not be a successful voice.” 

Garamendi, who was in Washington D.C. today, informed the group that Congress had reconvened, and that “by [tomorrow morning], we will affirm the electoral votes that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won in a fair, extraordinary election.”

The HUB spoke with seven locally-elected officials and compiled their reactions to today’s unprecedented events. Click on each name below to read their responses.

"The events today are beyond appalling. A very sad day when people feel the need to overtake our Capitol. Law enforcement have shown amazing restraint. However, I believe the rule of law will ultimately prevail" Oscar Villegas said.

“It’s an ugly day in American democracy. I won’t forgive it. I believe our nation and our democracy [have] been tested. We’ve been tested in the Civil War, we have been tested by foreign attacks [... and] we have been tested to address the legitimate civil rights request in the Black Lives Matter movement,” Don Saylor said. “I’m appalled. I’m disappointed. This is an ugly display.”

Saylor was shocked by the destruction of the Capitol building. “I look at the nation’s Capitol as a sacred place [...] There are statues of heroes within the walls of the Capitol and actual heroes who work in[side],” Saylor said. 

Saylor is looking forward and feels hopeful that our country will improve. 

“Right now we need to work to make sure that the people of Washington D.C. are safe and make sure that the Capitol is retaken [to] get on with the government business,” Saylor said.

“It’s highly disturbing to see that sort of insurrection in our nation’s capital. It threatens all of our institutions and all our liberties to see people trying to undermine democracy. It is a sad day for America,” Sandy said.

Sandy believes that the county government is impacted by the disorder and instability in Washington D.C..

“Because local government, especially county government, is so dependent on federal and state funding, any time there is a lack of stability in the national government it basically gets passed down in a variety of ways to local government often in funding and local programs having to do with health as an example,” Sandy said.

“I’m still in a bit of a shock quite frankly over what I witnessed today so it’ll take me some time to reflect on it [...] It is incredibly disturbing we’ve reached another level of domestic terrorism,” Sandy said.

First and foremost, Mayor Gloria Partida is dismayed by the riots in Washington D.C. today. “Our country has been a place where other nations look to for order [...] It’s really upsetting to me […] It’s just really hard to watch,” Partida said.

Partida believes that President Trump has done everything possible to undermine this election and our democracy. “[Trump’s] failure to follow protocol and his failure to do what is in best interest of the country and only do what is in the best interest of his own personal gain is what has brought us here. That’s not a leader,” Partida said.

Partida believes that action can be taken on a local level to prevent this type of thing from happening in the future. “I believe that it’s really important for people in our community to be engaged [...] to fight against this sort of anarchy.”

Looking forward, Partida thinks more focus needs to be put towards civic education. “We have to make sure that our young people understand what it takes to produce and run a functioning democracy,” Partida said.

“It’s a terrible blow to our democracy that I do hope we’ll be able to move past when Joe Biden takes over as president on Jan. 20,” Dan Carson said.

On a local level, the city council member believes that the many Davis citizens will be impacted by these current events.

“People in Davis are highly engaged in the 2020 election, they care deeply about the future of our country, and I’m sure the vast majority of people in Davis are likewise appalled by what’s occurring.”

Davis City Council member Lucas Frerichs has been watching the news closely all day as people have stormed the Capitol Building in support of President Trump.

“A lot of media [organizations] were originally referring to these folks as ‘armed protesters,’ but that seems a little too benign for what they really are, whether it’s domestic terrorists or an insurrection or an attempted coup,” Frerichs said. “Regardless of what it’s called, though, it’s un-American and antithetical to our values and our history [...] It’s just a shame, an absolute shame.”

Though shocked by today’s events, in retrospect, Frerichs says he could see this coming in the divisive rhetoric that Trump has been stoking for his entire presidency.

“This country has also been divided many times over various issues in the past, but people were still able to come together and work together to move us forward...I’m hopeful that the severity of these events today will really serve to wake people up,” Frerichs said.

Frerichs noted that if local officials tampered with election results in the ways that President Trump has been doing, that they would be shamed out of office and probably prosecuted. 

“How [Trump] is managing...to do that and get away with this kind of stuff is shocking,” Frerichs said.

Frerichs spends lots of time in D.C. and knows people who are staffers in the House of Representatives. He says that a lot of staffers were warned in advance to stay away from the Capitol Building today due to expected protesting. Frerichs was even in contact with U.S Rep. Garamendi’s chief-of-staff and took comfort in the fact that, “[...] they were all safe, the whole staff and Congressman Garamendi himself.”

“One of the core competences of our DJUSD Graduate Profile is Civic and Cultural Awareness.  A well-informed and deeply engaged citizenry is vital to the well-being of our community and our nation.  Today’s events in Washington D.C. provide a stark reminder of how vital it is for each and every one of us to stand up for democracy, the rule of law, and fair and just treatment for all,” Joe DiNunzio said.

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