Santa Barbara Congressmember Salud Carbajal accused President Donald Trump of inciting his supporters to commit acts of violence as they broke into the United States Capitol to protest the outcome of a presidential election that Trump maintains — without evidence — was fraudulently stolen from him. “Right now they’re breaking windows to get into the Capitol,” Carbajal stated from the safety of his congressional offices. “It’s shameful. It’s deplorable.”
Carbajal was not on the floor of the chambers when today’s proceedings were abruptly halted as pro-Trump protesters got past Capitol security. Vice President Mike Pence — the presiding officer — was evacuated. Many protesters got onto the floor of the Senate itself. Some occupied the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Carbajal opined that not enough Capitol security personnel had been initially deployed as has been warranted, but he stated reinforcements were on the way. “He’s encouraging the protesters and he’s inciting them in committing violence,” Carbajal charged. “He’s asking them to be rowdy and show their power and force. It’s just deplorable.”
Carbajal stated he supported peaceful protests, but violent protests, he said, will be put down. He accused Trump of exhibiting a double standard when it came to the violence committed by his supporters. “It’s okay, I guess, when his supporters break windows,” he said, alluding to Trump’s vehement condemnation of this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.
Later that afternoon, President Trump tweeted, “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order — respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
Carbajal stated he was under no threat and that he was sharing his office with his wife, Gina Carbajal, and his chief of staff, Jeremy Tittle. Because of COVID, he said, most members had been instructed to remain in their offices until they were needed either to speak or to vote. Carbajal said that crowds were big, but not that big. “This is a good-sized protest — it’s significant — but the mall isn’t remotely full. To put this in perspective, it’s nowhere nearly as big as the Women’s March,” he stated.
The big question, he said, was whether any of the protesters were armed and what would happen in a few hours when night fell. Capitol Police radio reported “shots fired” in the building, according to Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and at least one woman was seen during live cable coverage being carried out on a stretcher, visibly bleeding. The D.C. mayor announced a 6 p.m. curfew.
Whatever happened, Carbajal insisted, the election results would be ratified — either late Wednesday or sometime Thursday — and that the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would be ratified. “This is strictly a pro forma procedural vote,” he said. “Make no mistake, we will continue, we will get this done, and one way or the other, he will leave the White House come January 20 — one way or another.”
Carbajal dismissed Trump’s contention of voter fraud as “lies and unfounded mischaracterizations” but said that’s what the nation has come to expect from the president. “Just as concerning is that a few of my colleagues in the House have aided and abetted Trump in his denials and falsehoods.”
This article was underwritten in part by the Mickey Flacks Journalism Fund for Social Justice, a proud, innovative supporter of local news. To make a contribution go to sbcan.org/journalism_fund.