South Bay reacts to U.S. insurrection

Congressman Juan Vargas (D-51) on Wednesday voted to impeach President Donald Trump for “incitement to insurrection” after a violent mob marched to the Capitol building Jan. 6 and temporarily overtook the legislature following a speech he gave at a rally that morning. The failed coup d’état left five people dead. Last Saturday Vargas stood in front of the Hall of Justice outlining the reasons why Trump needed to be removed from office as quickly as possible. “He’s become completely irresponsible now. Very angry and, at the same time, he has his hands on all of the nuclear codes; he could launch a nuclear attack tomorrow, this man dangerous, he needs to be removed from office,” he said. Area Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-53) also voted for impeachment

An incensed and armed mob of President Donald Trump supporters besieged Capitol Hill in an attempt to block the Electoral College count to certify President-elect Joe Biden and Vice president-elect Kamala Harris’s win on Jan. 6.

Protestors pushed passed barricades, broke windows, looted, positioned pipe bombs, and entered rooms and offices in the Capitol. Many blame Trump for inciting the riot at his Save America Rally, telling supporters to “stop the steal” of the election. Five people including a federal police officer were killed during the siege.

“I said something is wrong here, something is really wrong, can’t have happened and we fight, we fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore,” stated Trump at the rally before urging the crowd to march to the Capitol and demonstrate against the certification.

It took more than four hours to get the Capitol building back to safety before Congress reconvened, certifying the Biden/Harris ticket in the early hours of Jan. 7.

South Bay leaders shared their opinions on the incidents of Jan. 6 and the ensuing move to impeach the president.

Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas said the attack on Jan. 6 by “vicious right-wing thugs” on a ceremonial procedure to certify the election was an act of treason and an assault on the country’s democratic tradition of a peaceful transition of power.

“It was fueled by the lies of a demagogue who, interested in no one but himself, accused bi-partisan secretaries of state of conducting a ‘rigged election,’” she said. “It did not matter to him or those he misled, that approximately 60 cases brought before the courts failed to provide a single piece of evidence that would have changed the result of the election.”

Casillas Salas said Trump is a traitor to the republic and, along with his “minions,” aggressively encouraged the use of violence and terror on the U.S. Congress and vice president.

“As a result, five people are dead, many injured, and our reputation as a shining example of a democracy is in tatters,” she said. “This is a marked contrast to the 2016 election when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote and promptly conceded, continuing the tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. In 2020, Donald Trump lost both the popular and the electoral vote, has refused to concede and urged his followers to violently oppose the transfer of power.”

National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis said this has been a sad time in the nation’s history to see the destruction and damage that a group of domestic terrorists committed last week on the very site where our democratic processes take place, the U.S. Capitol.

“As the greatest democracy on Earth, the United States will find and prosecute those individuals found guilty of those heinous acts and I know our elected leaders, including the incoming Biden/Harris administration, will work to fight to protect the electoral process and democratic values of inclusion, equity and equality,” she said. “Bigotry, fear and hatred have no room in the people’s house.”

Chula Vista Council member John McCann, District 1, said he was appalled by the violence at the Capitol last week.

“Having been privileged to work at the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the Department of the Navy and most recently at FEMA to expedite medical equipment and PPE to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington D.C., it sickens me that our great institutions were tarnished by the rioters,” he said. “Americans of all points of view should honor our historic American establishments, condemn all political violence and work together to solve our pressing problems. We need to unite together as Americans and not be divided.”

National City City Council member Mona Rios said she was “absolutely horrified” as she watched the insurrectionists attack the nation’s Capitol to overthrow our democracy.

“No one bears more blame than Donald Trump,” she said. “He needs to be removed from office through impeachment or the 25th Amendment.”

Chula Vista City Council member Jill Galvez, District 2, said the “horrific violence” the nation witnessed at the Capitol must never be allowed to repeat.

“Those who committed crimes of assault, destruction of property, theft and unlawful entry must be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she said. “Those responsible for the murder of a law enforcement officer must face the harshest penalties and prison terms. Jan. 6, 2021, was a profoundly sad and disgraceful day in our nation’s history.”

National City Vice Mayor Jose Rodriguez said the insurrection that occurred last week at the Capitol was a “barbarity” to the greatest Democratic institution since the Roman republic.

“It has been years in the making, with conspiracy theories radicalizing a portion of the population that feels economically disenfranchised. To deter this from occurring again, there must be severe punitive measures for these actions,” he said.

Chula Vista City Council member Stephen Padilla District 3, said the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was an assault on democracy.

“Our nation and society are wounded, and I am beyond sad and angry. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who lost their lives and their families,” said Padilla. “It is very clear President Trump incited this violence after actively and knowingly fomenting belief in a lie that the election was stolen from him.

“This president will leave office soon, and with the passage of time his voice and real influence will dim. If they are wise, his party, which he leaves in tatters, will outlast him and rebuild or they will join him. Our republic will outlast him as well,” Padilla said.

On Jan. 9, Rep. Juan Vargas held a press conference demanding the immediate impeachment of President Trump and to remove him from office.

“He is a danger to our republic,” he said. “He proved that … he continues to gain momentum and metaphase to become even more dangerous, desperate, understanding now from some of the reports coming out from both the media and from people in Washington. He’s become completely irresponsible now, very angry and, at the same time, he has his hands on all of the nuclear codes, he could launch a nuclear attack tomorrow, this man is dangerous, he needs to be removed from office.”

Vargas said there on only three ways to get rid of Trump. First, for him to resign; second, utilize the 25th Amendment; and third, to impeach.

“This is a case when we have to move quickly,” he said. “We’ve already brought up this article. We have to move it over to the Senate and have (him) removed, this can be done. This should be done. Now what did he do? He had one branch of government attack another branch of government, the executive attacked the legislative. He whipped up this mob into a frenzy. He sent them down our way to Capitol Hill, and he had to invade our house to prevent us from changing government. We’ve always had a peaceful transfer of power.”

Vargas said there was no doubt there were some people there who were peaceful, but also people who were very violent.

“You had people who were armed, ever ready to fight,” he said. “And you had people there who were not bearing arms but ready to fight. Then you had people who were there just to manifest their disapproval of what we were doing. You certainly had a very large contingent of that mob that was armed. And we knew it.”

Vargas said it was an insurrection and that Trump knew this.

“He knew they were armed. He whipped them up into a frenzy. And then he unleashed them on the Capitol. He knew exactly what he was doing,” Vargas said.

On Wednesday, 10 Republicans joined House Democrats in voting 232-197 to impeach Trump on a charge of “incitement to insurrection.”

The charge now moves to the Senate for an impeachment trial; however, that body is not expected to reconvene until after Trump has left office.

South Bay reacts to U.S. insurrection