8 Southern California House lawmakers remember Jan. 6 riot at U.S. Capitol – Daily News

Southern California House lawmakers knew they were going to witness history on Jan. 6, 2021.

They just didn’t know what sort they’d be witnessing.

Local legislators were on the floor of the House of Representatives, in the gallery overlooking it and in their offices near the U.S. Capitol as a massive rally turned into a protest and then into people fighting their way into the building in an attempt to stop lawmakers from certifying that Joe Biden had won the 2020 presidential election. Many of those rioting alleged that election irregularities and changes in election processes implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic were illegal, fatally compromised the election, or both.

Due to concerns about COVID-19, Speaker Nancy Pelosi only allowed a few representatives at a time on the House floor. Others waited in the gallery above or back in their offices.

About 10 minutes before the House convened at 1 p.m., Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside, went to one of the office building cafeterias for lunch while he waited for his turn to come to the floor to vote.

“I start getting texts from constituents and friends, asking if I’m OK,” Takano recalled a year later. At that point, “I hadn’t had a chance to look at any media at all.”

He ended up carrying his lunch from site to site throughout the day, he said, in response to repeated orders to evacuate and shelter in place as the situation at the Capitol evolved.

Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, was in his office as the House began its session.

“I looked out the window and I saw all these people coming up Independence (Avenue) toward the Capitol,” he said in a recent interview. “I didn’t think too much about it until all of a sudden, a little bit later, I heard that some barriers came down and people were breaking into the Capitol. … I’ve been in Washington for a long time. I’ve never seen anything like that in my career.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Glendale, was on the House floor as lawmakers debated Arizona’s election results.

Lawmakers evacuate the floor as rioters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“The first sign I had that something was going wrong was the speaker was suddenly not in her chair presiding,” Schiff recounted. “I knew she had been intent on presiding for the whole session, and I thought that was strange. Then I saw Capitol Police officers rush on to the House floor and grab our number two, Steny Hoyer. … I remember thinking to myself, ‘I never saw Steny move that fast.’”

Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-San Bernardino, was on the floor of the House at the same time.

“We were showing our phones to each other on the House floor, like, do you see this on Twitter? Like, it says, they breached, it says the crowd’s big. So we’re all kind of figuring this out on the fly,” he recalled.

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, returned to his office after the house voted to certify Arizona’s election results, where he encountered the protest — on the office television.

“I said, ‘Hey, I’m turning down the sound. These didn’t seem to be happy people,’” Sherman remembered. “What scared me the most afterwards was finding out that some were shouting, ‘Hang Mike Pence,’ and others were shouting, ‘Hey, where’s Nancy?’ Had I known that at the time, I would have been considerably more scared, or afraid, both for myself and for the country.”


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