By former Congresswoman Katie Hill
Two years ago, it was an honor to be sworn in as a freshman member of the 116th Congress. I decided to run for office in the first place because of what so many of us knew: Donald Trump was one of the biggest threats we have seen to our democracy. What happened yesterday was the inevitable outcome of a presidency that was entirely focused on accumulating and holding onto authoritarian-like power while stoking the flames of division, hatred, and fear.
It was no surprise that violent extremists were going to attack the Capitol—the President himself repeatedly and explicitly invited and encouraged them to do so. But the predictability of their horrific actions made it no less terrifying to witness in real time.
Throughout yesterday, I couldn’t help but think about all of the important votes I took in that chamber, about all of the history in the building that was being desecrated, and most importantly, about the safety of my friends who continue to serve. I am so grateful that, even though law enforcement utterly failed to adequately prepare for a well-known, planned, coordinated assault, all of my former colleagues and their staff made it out safely. Their bravery in those moments, and their courage to go back and finish the business of the people by certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s election, was remarkable.
We all must be very clear that the events of yesterday occurred because Trump told his people to storm the Capitol. He was the arsonist who set the fire in plain sight, and the Capitol will forever be stained with blood because of him and his enablers. And again, let’s be clear: Trump’s enablers are the Republicans in Congress who stood by and either vocally supported his dangerous rhetoric or stayed silent in the face of his hate.
Sadly, one of those enablers is the Republican who now represents my hometown, Mike Garcia. Though he only won his election by a few hundred votes, and Biden won our district by 10-points, Garcia still stood up in support of undermining the election results and supporting the lies perpetuated by Trump which led to yesterday’s insurrection.
It’s time for expulsions in the House and the Senate and full prosecutions of everyone who incited this – including Rep. Mike Garcia. Congress should reconvene and move on this immediately, as well as initiate the process of Impeachment. And, those in Trump’s cabinet have an obligation to invoke the 25th amendment rather than resign in cowardice. Now is the time to act.
The incoming Biden administration must extinguish this virus of domestic terrorism and white supremacy that has been allowed to spread unchecked for far too long, with the same urgency that it works to extinguish COVID-19.
Anything less will not suffice.
About the author: Katie Hill was elected in November 2018 to represent California’s 25th Congressional District, which includes the Antelope Valley. She resigned a year later.