Valley Congressman Jim Costa called the insurrection at the United States Capitol Wednesday an act of treason. He said he defends every American’s right to peacefully protest.
“But storming the Capitol and bringing in arms onto the Capitol and marching into the Senate floor and sitting behind the desk where the vice president sits to preside over the Senate or to storm the Speaker’s office, those are all treasonous activities,” he said in an interview with reporters Wednesday. “That’s not the action of a patriot. Patriots respect our country and our democratic values and the ability to agree to disagree.”
Costa said a mob breached the Capitol rotunda about an hour into the electoral vote count Wednesday. He said representatives in the House Chamber were told tear gas had been used in the rotunda.
“There are these gas masks that we have under our seats,” he said. Lawmakers were told to take them out and be prepared to put them on.
Soon after, the mob was trying to break through the doors to the House Chamber.
“We were all asked to hit the ground, or the floor I should say. And that's the photo you saw on the AP,” he said describing a photo of representatives trying to seek cover in the House Gallery. He said they were there for about 10 to 15 minutes before police were able to push back the mob.
Costa said his colleagues like fellow Valley Congressman Kevin McCarthy share in the blame for what happened Wednesday. McCarthy was among a large group of Republicans challenging the Electoral College outcome.
“Kevin knows that President-elect Biden has won the election and to entertain the vanities of our president, to somehow lead a large portion of Americans to believe that this was not a free and fair election is irresponsible on his part,” Costa said.
McCarthy issued a statement Wednesday condemning the mob at the U.S. Capitol.